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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



THE 
POPULAR SCIENCE 



MONTHLY 



EDITED BY 

J. MCKEEN CATTELL 



VOLUME LXX 



JANUARY TO JUNE, 1907 




NEW YORK 

THE SCIENCE PRESS 
1907 






Copyright, 1907 
The Science Press 



Press of 
The New Era Printing Company 

Lancaster, Pa. 



THE 

POPULAR SCIENCE 

MONTHLY 



JANUARY, 1907 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SALTON SEA 




By CHARLES ALMA BYERS 

LOS ANGELES, CAL. 



r I THROUGH temporarily losing control over the Imperial Valley 
-*- irrigation system in southern California, there has been sug- 
gested the possibility of creating an immense inland sea. This sea 
would extend from Volcano Lake in Mexico to a point a few miles 
north of Indio, California, and would spread over an area of 1,700 
square miles, with a maximum depth of 280 feet. It would be fed by 
an irrigation canal intersecting the Colorado Eiver near Yuma, Arizona, 
and its overflow would be carried into the Gulf of California by the 
lower part of the same river. It would submerge many acres of irri- 
gated and irrigable land, about a dozen fair-sized towns of more or less 
importance, several miles of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and a num- 
ber of rich deposits of valuable minerals. And the ability to create 
such a sea or lake lies simply in abandoning the present effort to 
regain control over this irrigation system. 

Dealing still further with possibilities of this nature, it may be 
pointed out that the feed canal of this inland sea could be widened and 
dredged; and thereby could be created a channel sufficient in dimensions 
for the entry of boats from the Gulf. This would make it possible for 
coast steamers to ply between ports on the Pacific Coast and a lake port 
that might be established near the present site of the town of Indio, at 
the foot of the eastern slope of the Sierra Madre Mountains, and with a 
latitude almost parallel with the city of Los Angeles. It is true that 
if the effort now being made to regain control over this rebellious sys- 
tem of irrigation should be abandoned to-day, and nature be permitted 
to reign supreme and unaided by man, it would be several years before 
the Colorado River could possibly complete the creation of the lake; 

VOL. lxx. — 1. 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




RECLAMATION 5£R\ l.Ct.U.S Q S 



LOWER COLORADO RIVER. 
SHOWING IRRIGABLE LANDS 

UNITED STATES a MEXICO, 




■ ALJ F O H H, // 



but since all this territory lies beneath the level of the sea. it is even 
possible for engineers to change the course of the lower part of the 
river, so that it would carry water from the Gulf of California to assist 
'in the lake's completion. It may be remarked in this connection, how- 
ever, that there is no probability at present of such a series of possi- 
bilities being permitted to materialize. In the light of present con- 
siderations, the value of the land and its products far outweighs the 
possible benefits of such a lake and inland port. Nevertheless it is 
a matter worthy of consideration. 

The Colorado Desert, of which the greater part would be covered 
by this inland sea, is bounded on the west by the Sierra Madre Moun- 
tains, on the north and east hy the San Bernardino and Riverside 
Ranges, and on the east by the Colorado River. As, therefore, would be 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SALTON SEA 




New River below Rockwood. January 16, 1904. 




Main Canal East of Calexico. December 16, 1904. 




Exploring Salton Sea for the Source of the Waters. January 13, 1905. 



8 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



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Intake No. 1, from North Bank. January 22, 1905. 




Intake No. 3, looking out toward the river. February 15, 1905. 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SALTON SEA 9 

shown in a relief map, it is in the shape of an acute triangle, with its 
base resting upon the Colorado River, on the east side, and extending 
northwest and up the Coachella Valley toward Mt. San Jacinto. The 
land slopes gradually from the river northwest to the Salton Sink, 
which at the lowest point is 280 feet below sea level. Yuma, Arizona, 
lies at the northeast corner of this triangle, and .is 137 feet above sea 
level, which, therefore, gives the feed canal, created for irrigating, a fall 
of 417 feet. 

Indio, at the extreme northwest point of the triangle, is 22 feet 
below sea level, while Volcano Lake, Mexico, is found to be very close 
to sea level. The town of Indio is the end of a division of the Southern 
Pacific Railroad, where the company has machine shops and main- 
tains a large force of men. It is also a health resort, and has a fine 
hotel and sanitarium. The other towns of this sunken area, which 
would be submerged by such a lake, are: Salton, 265 feet below sea 
level; Walters, 189; Thermal, 121; Imperial, 65; Alamo Bonito, 186; 
Coachella, 65 ; Mortmier, 248 ; Volcano Spring, 265 ; Fish Spring, 230, 
and Mecca, 18. 

The town of Imperial, located near the center of the Imperial 
Valley irrigation colony, is fast becoming a very important little city. 
Four years ago it was unknown. Its site was only a part of the bare 
Colorado Desert. An examination of the soil of this vicinity, how- 
ever, revealed the fact that the only thing necessary to make it pro- 
ductive was water, and in consequence a company was organized to 
install a system of irrigation. A canal was dug that intersected the 
Colorado River near Yuma, and by the water thus supplied the region 
was awakened into life and fertility. As a result, in the past four 
years, the town of Imperial has come into being, and about 110,000 
acres of the surrounding land have been converted into a prospering 
farming community, with a total population of over 10,000 persons. 
And the limit has by no means yet been reached, for there is much 
more of the region in a reclaimable condition. 

Up to the time that this irrigation system placed Imperial upon 
the map, the most important industry on the Colorado Desert was the 
salt works at Salton. Salton Sink was a vast dry lake of solid salt, 
and thousands upon thousands of tons of it were mined by simply 
scraping it up into piles. This industry furnished employment to a 
large corps of men, and the town of Salton came into being as the 
result of its being made the headquarters of the New Liverpool Salt 
Company. 

But Salton at present is dead. The town and the works are buried 
in a grave of water. The person who journeys thither to-day looks 
upon a vast lake. The homes are deserted, the salt works are aban- 
doned, and Salton Sink, once a dry lake of pure salt, lies transformed 



IO 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




Earth Dam across Intake No. 1. May 29, 1905 

into a billowy sea. Imperial not only became its peer in importance, 
but its annihilator as well. The savior or the creator of the one 
became the destroyer and the grave of the other. It was water from 
the Colorado Eiver that brought Imperial into being, and it was 
water from the same source that gave Salton its watery burial. 

It was not with the spirit of rivalry, however, that Imperial 
wrought Salton's annihilation. Instead, it is said to have been due 
to neglect. The main canal for the Imperial Valley irrigation system, 
which makes use of about fifty miles of what was once the channel of 
the old Alamo Eiver, draws its water from the Colorado Eiver at a 
point about ten miles below Yuma, and near the international 
boundary line between California and Mexico. At this intersecting 




View looking South across Intake No. 3. May.29, 1905. 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SALTON SEA 



1 1 



point there are three intakes or openings, for each of which there 
should have been provided a head-gate. This was not done, however, 
and over a year ago, during high water in the Colorado, these intakes 
began to admit more water than was necessary for use for irrigation. 
This surplus, which at times was very large, naturally sought the lowest 
part of the desert, and in consequence Salton Sink became ' Salton Sea.' 
Edwin Duryea, Jr., C. E., of San Francisco, who has made a 
careful study of the situation for the Southern Pacific Railroad, says 
that since October, 1904, when the canal first began to carry a surplus, 
the water in Salton Sink has steadily risen at the average rate of over 
one half inch per day. At times, during floods, this has even been 



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Unitsed Head-Gate between Intakes Nos. 1 and 2. May 29, 1905. 

temporarily increased to the rate of two inches per day. The water 
used by the irrigation system varies with the seasons from nothing in 
rainy weather to about 1,000 cubic feet per second; and Mr. Duryea, 
to show the variations in the surplus of water carried into the region, 
has made a number of measurements that leave no doubt as to the 
importance of the danger threatened. On February 14, 1905, the canal 
received 2,500 cubic feet per second, while about 30,000 cubic feet 
passed down the river; June 5, about 8,000 cubic feet went to the 
canal per second and 60,000 down the river; July 18, 18,000 to the 
canal and 7,000 down the river; October 17, 7,000 to the canal and 
none down the river; November 20, 6,000 to the canal and 128 down 
the river; December 13, 10,300 to the canal and none down the river. 
On November 29, there was a flood in the Colorado River, and it was 
estimated that the river at Yuma carried a maximum flow of 110,000 
cubic feet per second, of which about one-half went into the canal, 
and thence into Salton Sea. 



12 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




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THE POSSIBILITIES OF SALTON SEA 



13 




S. P. Track near Walton, looking West. October 19, 1905. 



The result of this surplus flow, due to the loss of control over the 
irrigation system, has been the creation of a lake averaging about 
forty miles in length by ten miles in width, and therefore covering an 
area of about 400 square miles. The Southern Pacific Railroad has 
been compelled to build many miles of new road to skirt this embryo 
lake, and the salt works of the New Liverpool Salt Company are 
immersed in more than twenty feet of water. This was the condition 
at the close of the vear 1905, and the size of the lake is still increasing. 

The first attempt to control this rebellious system of irrigation was 
made in March, 1905. It was a very frail effort, however, and the 
construction was washed away before it was entirely finished. Four 
other attempts followed in almost monthly succession, and each in turn 
met the same fate as the first. Then came the sixth. It, unlike the 
former ones, was undertaken on a larger scale and with a fuller 
realization that the problem to be confronted was a grave one. A 
large force of men was employed, and the attempt was prosecuted 
with vigor. Two hundred men, twenty teams, two pile-drivers and 
two stern-wheel river steamers were employed, and the work was carried 
on night and day. The intention was to construct a 600-foot dam 
across the west branch of the river, and thereby control the canal service 
by diverting the water into the east branch — except at such times 
and in such quantities as were necessary for irrigation. The dam was 
made of brush woven into mats and reinforced by several rows of 
piles. The flood of November 29, however, came before it was finished, 
entirely covering the work with water and washing it away, and thus 
destroying the sixth attempt. 

But the effect of this failure was only to more thoroughly convince 
the Southern Pacific Railway Company, which had assumed charge of 
the work in June, that the canal system must be controlled. The com- 
pany almost immediately, or in December, 1905, awarded a contract for 
the seventh attempt, and in January of 1906 work was again com- 
menced. 



14 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




Intake No. 2, looking out toward the river. October 17, 1905. 

The seventh attempt was pushed with even greater determination 
than the sixth. A larger corps of men was employed, and the work 
was planned upon a more substantial scale. It progressed quite slowly 
on account of high water at different times, but at last it is finished, 
and the engineers feel confident that the problem, after a year and a 
half, is now solved. The gates were declared completed about the 
middle of July, but on account of the swollen condition of the Colo- 
rado Kiver they have not yet been tested. The gate on the California 
side is constructed to admit 20,000 cubic feet per second, and the pres- 
ent flow of the river is in excess of 30,000 cubic feet per second. As 
soon as the river goes down to its normal condition the gate will be 
tested, and the engineers who have managed its construction assert 
that there is no possibility of its not standing the test. 




Details of Sixth Attempt, November 20, 1905. 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SALTON SEA 



1 5 




Details of Sixth Attempt, November 20, 1905. 

The total cost of the seventh and last attempt to control this irriga- 
tion system has been $40,000, or thereabouts. There are two head- 
gates — one, of concrete, on the California side, and one, of wood, on the 
Mexico side. The one of concrete is built to stand the greater portion, 
by far, of the strain, and it has every appearance of being amply sub- 
stantial. The cost of this gate alone was $24,770.47. It necessitated 
the excavation of 12,637.1 cubic yards of earth and 5,700.81 cubic feet 
of rock, and required the use of 1,335 barrels of cement, 1,204.85 cubic 
yards of sand, gravel and rock, 25,722 pounds of steel bars for rein- 
forcement and 791 pounds of expanded metal for gate facings. The 
work is being engineered by Mr. C. F. Cory, an engineer of wide 
repute. ' 

Although these dams or head-gates seem to promise a solution to 
the Salton Sea problem, there is nevertheless excuse for apprehensions 
of further trouble. The banks of the Colorado River in this vicinity 
are soft and gravelly and very easily eroded, and on this account there 
will always be the possibility of new channels being cut around these 
head-gates, especially during flood seasons. 




Details of Sixth Attempt, November 20, 1905. 



i6 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 







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THE POSSIBILITIES OF S ALTON SEA 17 

Whether or not this attempt, when tested, proves successful, how- 
ever, the damage being continually done to this region can not be ex- 
pected to end at once. Several hundred thousands of dollars damage 
has already been done by the truant river, and even if the surplus flow 
into the Sink is stopped by the new gates, the lake that covers Salton 
and its salt works will still remain, which evaporation, almost unaided, 
will have to drain. It will therefore be a long time before Salton, the 
submerged headquarters of the New Liverpool Salt Works, can be re- 
placed upon the map and the Southern Pacific Eailroad reconstructed 
upon its old road bed. 

The damage that threatens this sunken area, in case the river is 
not controlled, has already been briefly mentioned. If for some un- 
foreseen and improbable cause the present attempt should fail or be 
abandoned, and no other attempts inaugurated, the water would 
gradually cut the present irrigation canal so deep that the entire flow 
of the river would be side-tracked into Salton Sea. The water would 
slowly rise until a lake would be created as large in area as, or larger 
than, Great Salt Lake of Utah, and the entire Imperial Valley, which 
thus far has not suffered, would be covered with water. The lake 
would not only rise to the sea-level line, but instead, on account of the 
elevation of the enclosing rim, it would have to reach to an elevation 
of fifteen or twenty feet above sea level, at which point it would over- 
flow the south rim near Volcano Lake and pass southward until it 
would again enter the Colorado Eiver near the Gulf. Should it be 
the desire at any time to convert this area into a sea-level lake, this 
outlet channel, which would pass over very loose soil, could be dredged 
very easily into a sea-level inlet from the Gulf. 

To fill this sunken area with water from the Colorado River would 
require many years. The average flow of the river during a year is 
said to be about 15,000 cubic feet per second. This entire amount 
conveyed into the lake would be subject to a very great shrinkage from 
evaporation, and it is even possible that this loss would become so 
great after the lake had spread over a certain area as to equal the 
inflow from the river, although such is hardly probable. In any case, 
all attempted computations of such nature would necessarily be very 
inaccurate, and may as well be omitted. 

In studying the possibility of this area becoming the bed of an 
inland sea there are even more considerations to be met than are 
offered by the Imperial Valley land colony and the salt works at Salton. 
Gilbert E. Bailey, M. E., of Los Angeles, a recognized authority on the 
mineral resources of California, has made a thorough study of this 
region, and to the writer he has furnished a partial list of its possibili- 
ties in this direction. In addition to the salt deposits, large quantities 
of nitrate, sulphate and carbonate of soda are found at various point? 



1 8 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

along the rim of the desert, and in the southern part there are about 
300 acres covered with mud volcanoes or geysers that spout forth mud 
of various colors and consistency, containing rare minerals which some 
day may become of importance. Oil-bearing rocks are found along 
the west side, forming a belt at the foot of the mountains and extend- 
ing into the area lying below sea level, from which ooze heavy asphaltic 
oils, and which will some time develop into a rich oil-producing dis- 
trict. South of the California line, in Mexico, and lying below sea 
level, there are also valuable and extensive deposits of sulphur; and 
then in the surrounding mountains, which, however, would not suffer 
from the lake, are found large deposits of gold, silver and copper and 
mines of kunzite and tourmaline gems. 

Altogether, this is an interesting country. It offers many realities, 
and as many, or more, possibilities. At present it is battling with an 
unusual problem, and we are assured by engineers that it stands on 
the eve of victory — at last. It has met defeat bravely six times, and 
therefore let us hope that the seventh attempt will be crowned with 
reward. 

Author's Note. — About the first of last November, shortly after this article 
was written, the dams and headgates constructed to shut the Colorado River 
out of Salton Sink were put into use. Up to this time the Southern Pacific 
Company, after finishing the headgates mentioned, had continued work until 
it had practically diked the river for a distance of more than ten miles, and 
had expended upon the work a sum in excess of $1,500,000. The test of the 
completed work at that time seemed to assure the successful capture of the 
runaway river, and there was general rejoicing. A month later, however, the 
river rose to flood tide, and on the night of December 7, last, it again broke 
through its natural channel bounds and is again pouring into Salton Sink. 
The condition to-day is as bad as it was six months ago, and the possibilities of 
a permanent ' Salton Sea ' are now more pronounced than ever. The river 
must be controlled within six months, or the Imperial Valley will suffer greatly. 
The Southern Pacific Company, at present, hesitate to again fight the river, 
and it is probable that the United States government will be asked to lend 
assistance. The recent break occurred just below the new dike, and has already 
eroded a canyon-like channel. As pointed out by the writer, the banks of the 
Colorado River in this vicinity are low and of a very loose material, conse- 
quently easily eroded, and to assure a lasting solution to the problem about 
twenty more miles of dike will be necessary. This, too, must be built soon — 
before the river channel above the break is cut much deeper. 



THE SANITATION OF AIR 




THE SANITATION OF AIR 

BY KONRAD MEIER 

NEW YORK CITY 



HYGIENE, as a science, traces the causes of disease to which man- 
kind is exposed in every phase of life. Its practical value lies 
in the preventing of these causes, through the sanitation of our sur- 
roundings and the rational care of body and mind. The gradual im- 
provement of public health and the incident saving of vital energies as 
the result of true hygienic living would easily make this field of 
knowledge rank among the most potent factors in the development of 
races. Unfortunately, its greater possibilities are not yet being 
realized, for want of application, which is, as yet, too much confined 
to the professions directly concerned with matters of health. The prin- 
ciples of hygiene must be brought home to the people at large, must 
grow into and form the habits of our daily life. They should, in fact, 
be applied in every craft and trade, led by the professions, as, for 
instance, by architects and engineers, upon whom depends largely the 
healthfulness of our homes, of a multitude of public utilities, and of 
the commonwealth as a whole. In architecture and engineering, the 
problems bearing on health should be approached in a spirit inde- 
pendent of mercenary considerations. They ought to be solved strictly 
on their merits, with a fair perspective towards hygienic quality in all 
questions of serviceability, ornamental features and structural needs. 
Such quality is often necessary to the full realization of the aim, and 
essential to true artistic value as well as to material success. We 
can not ignore the laws and lessons of nature in building up the city 
of enduring beauty. 

In crowded industrial and commercial centers, the excessive vitia- 
tion of the atmosphere has grown to be an important factor bearing 
on public health. While a systematic supply of pure air to buildings 
has long been recognized as a necessity, the state of the outer air has 
not yet received the attention it deserves, and is too often accepted as 
a matter beyond control. Nevertheless, an inquiry into the sources 
of its pollution will readily show that much of it might be prevented. 
That it ought to be prevented is becoming more apparent as its bear- 
ing on prevailing diseases is definitely being established. The move- 
ment for better ventilation would also gain through a closer study of 
the causes of impure air. Abundant literature exists on standards of 
purity, on temperature and humidity, also on the amount of air to be 



2o POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

supplied per capita, but comparatively little effort has been made 
to trace out and bring to light the less evident and often unsuspected 
factors of contamination, which indicate, or at least should help to 
determine, the logical method of relief. 

The sanitation of the air is a field which has hardly been recognized 
as such, at least it is not carried on systematically, with that end in 
view, and the results of present efforts, on the whole, are distinctly 
behind the progress made in other lines. Indeed, its failure to meet 
the aggravated needs of our crowded and growing cities can actually 
be traced on their vital statistics. 

The Bearing of Impure Air on Health 

An exceptionally clear exposition of the process of breathing is con- 
tained in the short essay, ' Air, and its Eelation to Vital Energy,' by 
Professor S. H. Woodbridge, of the Massachusetts Institute of Tech- 
nology. The oxidation of organic matter within the human body is 
likened to the process of combustion in a boiler furnace. This analogy 
applies to every essential point and shows that the conditions making 
for efficiency in artificial heat production are also those which bear on 
vital energy. The intensity of combustion within the human body 
depends upon the rate of exchange between the carbonic acid contained 
in the venous blood and the oxygen brought into the lungs, or the 
rapidity at which the waste products brought in from the system are 
being diluted. A slight abnormal accumulation of this gas in the air 
cells of the lungs would check this outward leakage or expulsion of 
waste products and retard regeneration of the blood, but respiration 
automatically regulates this function. Exhausted air, with deficiency 
in oxygen and excess of carbonic acid, to sustain equal force, thus 
requires increased respiration, an unconscious effort, gradually lapsing 
as the gathering waste products react upon the blood and through it 
upon vitality. The weakened light of a candle flame in exhausted 
room air very aptly illustrates also its effect on human beings. 

Exhausted Air. — Recent experiments by Fluegge, the eminent Ger- 
man investigator, seemingly contradict this theory. At least they make 
it appear that the paucity of oxygen and the simultaneous increase of 
carbonic acid and other waste products, have no appreciable ill effect on 
the average adult, but that the depression of spirits, headache and 
drowsiness felt in crowded, ill-ventilated assembly rooms are principally 
due to disturbance of the thermal functions of the body through heat 
and moisture. Since these excesses in temperature and humidity 
always accompany exhaustion they should certainly be regarded as 
contributory factors, which help to depress the vital powers according 
to their prominence. It has been asserted, also, that the human organ- 
ism has long been used to the frequent breathing of foul air, and will 



THE SANITATION OF AIR 21 

adapt itself to any condition tolerable at all in the long run. This is 
true to an extent, as to the products of breathing as well as to tempera- 
ture, but it is more than likely that any immunity from the habit of 
living in badly used air is gained at the expense of vitality. 

Contaminated Air. — As distinguished from ' exhaustion ' of air, or 
shortage of oxygen, with the corresponding increase of carbonic acid 
and other waste products, the term ' contamination ' may be applied to 
impurities of gaseous and solid nature, aside from the normally un- 
avoidable. Tins includes, for instance, gases and vapor from industrial 
sources, also smoke, soot and dust with its attendant bacteria. 

The amount of carbonic acid found in air is commonly regarded as 
a measure of the degree of vitiation, but wherever pollution of the air 
is likely to occur independent of an increase of combustion or respira- 
tion that method of testing the purity naturally is deceptive. Indeed, 
contamination quite often predominates exhaustion, and should always 
be considered by itself, as a separate factor, according to the nature of 
the case. While the effect of exhausted air may have been over- 
estimated, the bearing of contamination on health does not seem to be 
sufficiently realized. Its claims on vitality are of a different nature. 
Any admixture of foreign gases may react directly upon the blood. 
Such poisoning, however, is mostly due to local sources, readily de- 
tected and prevented. By far the greater mischief is done by the 
solid impurities afloat in the air. Although these are normally arrested 
by the moist, mucous surfaces of nose and throat, they will, under 
certain conditions, enter the lungs, fill the minute air chambers and 
lodge there indefinitely. Through life in smoky or dusty surroundings 
large portions of the lungs become useless in this manner, invite decay 
and the fatal attacks of bacteria. Dr. Louis Ascher, in publishing the 
results of his exhaustive investigations on the subject, has shown con- 
clusively that smoky atmosphere encourages diseases of the respiratory 
organs, materially shortens the life of consumptives and bears dis- 
tinctly on the mortality of afflicted districts. The charts of distribu- 
tion of pulmonary tuberculosis in Chicago show indeed the cases to be 
most frequent near the cluster of railway stations. The appalling con- 
tingent of lung patients sent to the Eocky Mountains from our smoky 
cities of the middle west gives a sad testimony to these facts. 

Still greater mischief is done by solid impurities, especially dust, 
as the carriers of disease germs. True, the best authorities now agree 
that the presence of microbes in the respiratory organs does not neces- 
sarily produce disease, and that the germs must first make their way 
into the system in order to develop, and find it in poor condition before 
they can do serious harm. Predisposition, in the form of inflammation 
combined with lowered vitality, seems therefore necessary to develop the 
more serious pulmonary diseases. Unfortunately these predisposing 

vol. lxxx. — 2. 



22 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

ailments are very prevalent and almost unavoidable, to judge only by 
the numerous traces of mucous sputum displayed on public thorough- 
fares, mostly witnesses of chronic catarrh. The first irritation is not 
always caused by exposure to cold, dryness or humidity, but often by 
soot and dust, or the depressing conditions of indoor and city life 
generally. As to the effect of these impurities on diseased tissue, we 
have recently come to authoritative information through the report of 
the committee on the influence of climate, made before the National 
Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis. By analysis 
of the various factors contributing to a successful cure, it was found 
that good results may be secured under most widely differing climatic 
conditions, the benefits of relative humidity, temperature, altitude, etc., 
being practically dependent upon the patient's general condition or con- 
stitution. It has been found, however, that, when other things are 
equal and the same attention is paid to diet and hygiene, the best 
results have always been noted where the atmosphere was purest. In- 
deed the report places ' Abundance and bacteriological and chemical 
purity of the air ' as first among the beneficial influences, while the 
value of sunshine and the therapeutic effects of coolness, dryness, etc., 
are placed next in order of importance. 

Surprising results seem to have been obtained lately by the out- 
door treatment of pneumonia, in which very probably the greater 
purity of the air is a contributing factor. The success of the fresh- 
air colony at Seabreeze also confirms the theory that the cure is greatly 
assisted by the pure sea air, that is, by the absence of dust and bacteria, 
which irritate, and continually bring renewed infection to the recep- 
tive diseased parts. It is for this reason that outdoor life, almost any- 
where, is beneficial to lung patients, since they avoid at least some of 
the multifarious, insidious forms of contamination peculiar to the air 
in the average dwelling. 

All these facts point to the meaning of impure atmosphere in 
densely populated cities, where the seeds of disease are most abundant, 
and the field for infection is prepared for it, fertilized, so to speak, by 
all sorts of conditions and modes of life, more or less beyond one's 
control. A good crop of pneumonia and kindred diseases seems as- 
sured for the winter season, when the tax on vitality is severest, and 
indoor life in unsanitary quarters supplies the opportunity. This 
seems almost sufficient to explain the present situation in our large 
cities, which has brought about the organization of the Pneumonia 
Commission through the New York Board of Health. In this con- 
nection, Dr. Herman M. Biggs, the general medical officer of the 
board, has stated, that the number of victims claimed yearly by pneu- 
monia increases steadily and alarmingly. In New York City alone 
during the first six months of 1905 one third the total number of 



THE SANITATION OF AIR 23 

deaths were charged to acute respiratory diseases and pulmonary tuber- 
culosis. During that period the deaths from these causes numbered 
14,091. In the corresponding period of the year before they aggre- 
gated 10,890. 

When we compare the efforts of the sanitary corps in this particular 
direction with the systematic and thorough work done in checking cer- 
tain epidemics, we can not fail to note the lack of a comprehensive 
system in fighting diphtheria, grip, pneumonia and other respiratory 
diseases, which now claim a majority of victims. The situation seems 
to be recognized, but is met only to a limited extent. Much good has 
been accomplished through sanitary inspection, stricter enforcement 
of the regulations against expectorating in public places, also by ex- 
hibits and other educational work, but there are many other possible 
lines of action which should be taken up as parts of an organized cam- 
paign for the sanitation of the air. Since the most promising measures 
must always be of the preventive order, we should, above all, study the 
causes which lead to unwholesome atmosphere. 

The Causes of Impure Air 

Quantities of smoke, vapor, dust and other offensive waste products 
are constantly discharged into the atmosphere of urban districts. The 
emanation of all this matter is so rapid that it becomes visible within 
a few hours whenever the purifying breezes die away, and yet the 
gathering gloom is not generally recognized as pollution of the air, 
but rather taken for a change in weather. According to the seasons, 
the solid particles like soot and dust will cause a haze, or encourage 
the formation of mist and fog, sometimes, during the winter, depriving 
a city for days of the life-giving sun. 

The sources that contribute to this pollution of urban atmosphere 
naturally increase with the population, while the dispersal of impure 
matter by the natural air currents becomes more sluggish and uncertain 
with the growing areas of urban settlements. The density of popula- 
tion in certain metropolitan districts is easily ten times that of smaller 
cities. The rate of vitiation of the air through smoke and other waste 
matter must therefore be at least that much greater. Comparatively 
speaking, the conditions of health in a crowded community are like 
those prevailing on board ship. The living space is still smaller than 
that of the average city dwelling, but the elements contributing to the 
vitiation are about the same per capita, hence more concentrated and 
more in evidence. We know that extra labor and care are necessary 
on a vessel to maintain the air in a tolerable state, quite irrespective 
of ventilation. In cities, where dwellings and shops are built not only 
closer together, but are literally piled up on each other, the general 
contamination is likewise bound to become unwholesome unless special 



24 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

care is taken in disposing of waste matter that may find its way into 
the air. No doubt more is being done in this direction than in former 
days, but the rapid concentration of living quarters and industrial 
shops brings with it new conditions. It should be remembered that 
it is our pressing duty, and part of that civilization which has built 
cities for millions, to keep them not only inhabitable, but healthful, 
wholesome and pure. Elbert Hubbard in the course of his travels 
once observed that ' The path of civilization is strewed with tin cans/ 
This certainly insinuates that we have not yet arrived, while tin cans 
and a multitude of other witnesses of neglect in civic duty are seen 
along the path. 

The Smoke Nuisance. — Smokeless combustion is not only feasible 
for almost any kind of coal, but more economical if properly attended. 
The principal difficulty exists in the design of the proper furnace to 
suit the fuel and to meet the conditions under which it is burned. 
There ought to be no restriction on the use of bituminous or any other 
coal. On the other hand, no excuse should be accepted for black smoke 
from any source within city limits. If not willing or able to suppress it, 
the offensive industry must be made to move. But all the smaller and 
innumerable sources of medium, light and invisible smoke should also 
receive attention. They emit, in reality, by far the largest share of it 
in the average commercial and residential community, less noticeable 
because more diluted, but none the less objectionable. The reduction 
of this smoke is, for practical reasons, beyond control of local health 
authorities, but it can gradually be eliminated through individual 
action; that is, by the general concentration of light, heat and power 
service. The movement in this direction was started long ago with 
the introduction of central stations for light and power, but it is 
capable of much greater extension, particularly for heating and power. 
The bulk of the fuel should be burned at the mine, or at tide-water 
outside of city limits. Such concentration of combustion for various 
needs represents a material saving in the total amount of fuel con- 
sumed, and, therefore, of the smoke produced. It would incidentally 
avoid the handling of much coal and ashes and reduce the large amount 
of exhaust steam now seen pouring away from the numerous individual 
plants in certain neighborhoods. On still days, these vapors contribute 
perceptibly to the murkiness of the atmosphere. The use of steam 
power for transportation in urban and densely populated suburban dis- 
tricts has long since ceased to be a necessary evil and should have been 
prohibited years ago. It is gratifying to state that at last this much- 
needed economic and sanitary reform seems about to be realized. 

Street Dust. — Dust of the streets is one of the principal elements in 
polluting the atmosphere. It is made up of innumerable substances 
utterly defying description. To what extent it permeates the air, even 



THE SANITATION OF AIR 25 

in buildings, is proved by a microscopic examination of deposits from 
furniture, which shows a large percentage of animal refuse, mostly 
horse offal, ground up by the street traffic. ' Dirt is useful matter in 
a wrong place,' was one of the lamented Colonel Waring's maxims. 
He had, indeed, not only succeeded in removing it, but was in a fair 
way to make it pay for the cost of removal. Sanitation and economy 
often go hand in hand. 

Concerted action is necessary to suppress this nuisance. No one 
should complain about dust who is not doing his share in preventing it. 
Each citizen must be his own sanitary officer and each sanitary officer 
and employee must be made to attend to his duties on public property. 
Corporations operating public conveyances should also be strictly held 
up to their duties. A case which illustrates this point is the New 
York Subway. Dust from the streets, mixed with sputum and sweep- 
ings from within, are permitted to accumulate indefinitely on a road- 
bed of gravel, which can never be thoroughly cleaned. The trains 
continually stir up some of this accumulation and impart it to the air. 
This is an inexcusable offense from a hygienic point of view. We need 
only consider that an underground route has not, like a surface rail- 
way, the natural assistance of wind, rain and sun in maintaining salu- 
brity, and that it requires extra care and attention to make up for such 
disadvantage. The drippings of oil will not altogether bind or lay 
the dust, and the present method of drawing in air through dirty side- 
walk gratings can not improve matters in this respect. An easily 
cleaned surface and effective mechanical means should be provided to 
keep the road-bed and the entire tunnel ' clean as a hound's tooth.' 
The stuffy atmosphere often noticed in the subway is largely traceable 
to these impurities, which are more objectionable than the heat and the 
exhaustion of the air. The latter, after all, may be regarded as tem- 
porary drawbacks, while dust and bacteria inhaled during the shortest 
transit will cause infection, threatening disease to any one predisposed. 
Unless built and operated with a reasonable appreciation of hygienic 
science, subways may at times become a serious menace to public health, 
especially when grip and similar epidemics are prevailing. 

Causes for Impure Air in Buildings. — Among the numerous factors 
which may contribute to vitiate the air in buildings, some can always 
be eliminated, while others are unavoidable and should be counter- 
acted by ventilation, in one form or another. Acting on the principle 
that prevention is better than cure, we should pay attention first to the 
avoidable sources. Waste matter of any kind is certain to contaminate 
the air without necessarily being perceptible by odor or by any of the 
customary methods of testing. Dust and dried-up sputum from the 
street, brought in by the air or by clothing, unless frequently removed, 
will permeate carpets and draperies, from where it is continually 



26 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

stirred up, thus filling the air with all sorts of impurities, irritating 
and disease-bearing. The stuffy atmosphere one notices when entering 
certain assembly halls and churches is nearly always due to lack of 
energy or method in cleaning, quite often through inaccessibility in 
* dirt corners ' or other hygienic fault in the design of buildings. 

The combustion of gas and kerosene in living rooms rapidly vitiates 
the air. Each burner will use up as much oxygen as several persons, 
besides generating heat, moisture and often sulphurous acid gas, spe- 
cially injurious to nose and throat. Stoves or grates for heating or 
cooking by gas should invariably be connected to a -flue to carry off the 
products of combustion, Even if used for lighting only, the discharge 
from lamps becomes very objectionable without ample provision for its 
escape from the room. 

Smoke and vapors are unavoidable wherever cooking is going on, 
but through immediate and effective removal at the starting point, 
their spread can be prevented. There is no excuse for any odors in- 
vading the living rooms; indeed, if the vapors are properly taken care 
of, the air in the kitchen itself can be kept reasonably wholesome and 
pure. 

Dust, smoke, gases or hot air from industrial sources which are 
often allowed to contaminate the air in workshops and laboratories 
can be classed as avoidable factors, since it is nearly always possible to 
localize them. Grinding wheels, buffers or other machinery should be 
equipped for this purpose with devices for mechanical suction to pick 
up and remove the dust or fumes before they can spread and do harm. 
Poisonous gases in laboratories should also be removed as soon as 
generated. Waste heat which would otherwise become annoying should 
be neutralized by insulation. The design of such arrangements re- 
quires special training and experience, but the principles of it can 
easily be understood and insisted upon by laymen. 

The Vitiation of the Air through Heating, Cooling and Ventilating 
Apparatus. — Every one is familiar with the discomforts of modern 
heating apparatus. The most frequent complaints are of dryness, 
disagreeable odors or stuffy atmosphere, sometimes combined with over- 
heating. These conditions are so common that they have almost come 
to be regarded as unavoidable drawbacks, more or less peculiar to cer- 
tain methods of heating. 

Since the capacity of air to absorb moisture increases with its tem- 
perature, heating, by any method, will have a drying effect. In clear 
cold weather, when the atmosphere out of doors contains little moisture, 
the relative percentage indoors may drop below a point to which most 
persons are acclimated. Unless made up by internal sources, some 
artificial supply of moisture seems desirable in such cases. It is, how- 
ever, not necessary and not desirable, as is often recommended, to go 



THE SANITATION OF AIR 27 

beyond, or even as far as, making up the deficiency caused by heating, 
since the human system is used to considerable changes without any 
real discomfort. Indeed, dry air, if pure, is probably more beneficial 
to normal adults than moist air. The principal reason why the demand 
for moisture in heated rooms has arisen is the irritating effect of float- 
ing dust which has been set in motion by the heating system, directly 
or indirectly. In the worst form this may be noticed with hot-air 
heating through floor registers, which invite all sorts of rubbish to fall 
into the flue, only to be dried and sent up again, often directly into 
one's nose. Radiators also, especially those with inaccessible surfaces, 
will gather dust. When cold, it will lay there and molest no more 
than that on furniture, but as soon as heat is turned on, the tiny drops 
of moisture, which always cling to these solid particles, will evaporate. 
Free of this weight, the dust is easily set in motion by the currents of 
warm air rising from the radiator, as may often be seen by the tell-tale 
shadows on the wall above. Heating apparatus thus contaminates the 
air with dust and bacteria which otherwise would lay undisturbed and 
out of harm's way. Moistening of the air will not prevent this to any 
extent. It increases, in fact, another source of contamination, still too 
common with modern heating systems — the dry distillation of the 
organic matter on hot surfaces. This phenomenon has recently been 
studied by the noted hygienists Professors Esmarch and Nussbaum, 
who have independently reached the conclusion, that organic dust begins 
to distil or singe when a radiator reaches a temperature of about 
165° F., and that this process is rather encouraged by moisture, prob- 
ably because the hygroscopic matter clings longer to the heated surfaces 
and is therefore decomposed before it rises up in the air. To reduce' 
the vitiating effect of heating apparatus, we must insist on the most 
accessible and simple styles of radiators, on which any dust can readily 
be seen and is apt to be removed, and on ample heating surfaces of 
moderate temperature which will tend to avoid the decomposition of 
organic matter. 

Overheating by itself must be considered as vitiating the air; at 
least in so far as it makes it unfit, or less wholesome, according to some 
noted hygienists who have thoroughly investigated its effect. It seems, 
at any rate, to give the air a lifeless quality, which soon imparts itself 
to the victim of our wasteful modes of heating. 

Apparatus for artificial moistening, which is now often installed 
in connection with heating and ventilating systems, aside from the 
liability of exceeding the desirable humidity, also gives opportunity for 
contamination of the air supply. Unless the devices are designed on 
sanitary principles and intelligently attended to, they are very liable to 
become foul and malodorous, if not unhealthy. 

Like the heating of buildings, artificial cooling may also have un- 



28 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

wholesome effects. Special provision must be made for drying the air 
to keep down the relative humidity in the rooms so cooled. In moist 
and warm weather it would otherwise reach the saturation point. Such 
a condition is not only uncomfortable, but can become very unhealthy. 
The science of artificial cooling is as yet very little understood by 
the average layman and any devices which do not give perfect control 
over humidity must be cautioned against. 

Ventilating apparatus itself may become a source of contamination 
if improperly designed, operated or maintained. Air filters have been 
found, for instance, which were intended to arrest the dust, but actually 
also arrest nearly all the fresh air. Some of these filters can not be 
cleaned or renewed without spilling the very impurities collected into 
the air ducts and thence into the rooms. Mechanical ventilating de- 
vices too often defeat their usefulness by lack of control over air cur- 
rents and temperature, which either puts them out of service, or the 
persons for whose benefit they were intended. 

Vitiation through Animal Life. — The last, but not the least, among 
the sources of vitiation is the presence of animal life or of man. 
Theoretically, perhaps, this may be called the only unavoidable factor, 
or the one which must be met by ventilation. The exhalation of car- 
bonic acid in place of the oxygen inhaled reduces the life-giving quality 
of the air, or its power of regenerating the blood. Exhaled air, more- 
over, is charged with vapor and organic matter. The substance, called 
effluvia, which emanates from the surface of the human body is also 
of organic nature. It is harmless enough when permitted to dry and 
disperse, but in the moist and warm air of over-crowded rooms it 
quickly putrefies and becomes obnoxious. It can be recognized by that 
pungent odor characteristic of a sweltering mass of people. Whatever 
ill effects may be due to effluvia come through the action of odor on 
the nerves, rather than through inhaling this comparatively innocuous 
matter. The excess of heat and moisture produced by an audience as 
previously mentioned is now regarded as more than a temporary dis- 
comfort, quite aside from the danger in subsequent exposure to cold. 
Exhaled air, effluvia and heat thus combine, in varying proportions, to 
make room air unfit for breathing. In crowded meeting places they 
are the principal sources of vitiation, which may practically determine 
the artificial supply of air, while, for instance, in dwellings, offices and 
shops with liberal space allowance and plenty of exposure they are 
often a negligible quantity compared with the sources of contamination. 

Suggestions for Relief 
The remedy for the unhealthy conditions described naturally lies 
in systematic sanitation of the air; indoors as well as out-of-doors. 
The methods of carrying on such work are indicated by the causes 



THE SANITATION OF AIR 29 

themselves, and some remedies have already been suggested. In regard 
to open air they are practically limited to measures of prevention. 

Sanitation. — The New York Board of Health now sends school- 
children to dispensaries and specialists for deafness and defective eye- 
sight, in the hope of reclaiming them from the dullness consequent to 
these ills. This unquestionably helps to keep certain contagious dis- 
eases under control, and it may be justified on other grounds, but it 
should not be forgotten that certain unsanitary conditions, to which 
such diseases can often be traced, barely receive any attention in the 
sense of an organized campaign for purifying the air. Particular 
attention should be paid to the suppression of all markets and other 
nuisances affecting the salubrity of streets and squares surrounding 
schools and hospitals. The maintenance of public buildings on strict 
sanitary lines by systematic processes of cleaning, disinfection, repaint- 
ing and repairing is also too much neglected. The movement for the 
better housing of the poor, however much has been accomplished, can 
only be called a beginning. Hundreds of the better sort of tenements 
are being built, but thousands are needed. If the health board has the 
right to condemn old rookeries, to order repairs, to pass on workshops 
in dingy basements and the like, there is much to be done yet on these 
lines. 

The campaign against expectorating, in which Dr. Darlington, the 
present New York health commissioner, has taken an active part, is 
most commendable. It certainly reduces the constant danger of in- 
fection, but it does not lead far enough toward stopping its causes, 
the chronic catarrh and other ills largely induced by untidy streets and 
buildings, public and private. 

Sanitary inspection has long been organized in many cities, for 
certain classes of buildings, but it must include all public conveyances, 
conveniences, highways and byways in order to be really effective. It 
should be supplemented by jurisdiction over hygiene in lighting, plumb- 
ing, heating and ventilation of new buildings, and in the maintenance 
of streets, sewers and other public works. This may seem to be a large 
ground to cover for the average staff of health officers, but it is not 
altogether a question of men, but one of influence or power of the 
board over other departments, which should be made to carry out their 
own work with due regard for hygienic requirements. Sanitation on 
these lines would be of particular value as an education to the citizens 
by way of example. 

Hints on Ventilation. — The foregoing arguments should have made 
it clear that ventilation is not the only cure for vitiated air. It should 
be regarded rather as a supplementary measure, to be used where other 
means of sanitation can not or will not give sufficient relief. To ven- 
tilate buildings with the impure air from city streets, railway cars with 



3 o POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

smoke from the engines, subway cars with dust-laden air from the 
tunnel, is naturally inefficient and of questionable benefit. Efficiency 
in ventilation must come through wider streets and courts, cleaner 
thoroughfares, the abolition of smoke and dust nuisances, and last, but 
not least, through the design of buildings, engineering work, public 
conveyances and their equipment on sanitary lines. 

Laws have been in effect in several states which prescribe a fixed 
amount of fresh air to be supplied per capita in schools and theaters. 
These laws do not cover the standard of purity, except perhaps as ex- 
pressed by the carbonic acid test, which does not measure the worst 
forms of contamination. They do not always define temperature and 
other qualities essential to secure its benefit to people. Moreover, it is 
almost hopeless to enforce them in the proper spirit. Discretion might 
often be in order where natural conditions will help, but can not be 
conceded while the exact volume of artificial supply is prescribed. The 
chief benefit of such legislation lies in its educational effect on people. 
The urgent need to-day is to bring before the public again and again 
the most objectionable causes of impure air, especially those of pre- 
ventable nature, and to promote sound judgment as to the logical and 
practical means of relief. 

Ventilation can be effected by natural, artificial or mechanical 
means. Each of these three methods has its field for application. 
Natural ventilation is incidental to the design and construction of a 
building. Frame houses are subject to considerable leakage through 
the shrinking wood-work of walls, windows and doors and through their 
greater exposure to the air generally. Such ventilation may also be 
called spontaneous. It is generally sufficient in exposed wooden dwell- 
ings, at times even greater than necessary. Brick and stone buildings 
are also subject to more or less spontaneous ventilaton, which, however, 
does not always meet the need. In such cases, the general design of 
the building should be arranged deliberately to encourage a natural 
ingress and egress of air. For residences and offices not unduly 
crowded, this may suffice with a fair exposure, but often it should be 
supplemented by artificial means. This implies that the building must 
have certain features which induce a decided movement of air, such as 
shafts leading from kitchen and inside rooms, also fire-place flues and 
vents from special sources of odor. With such provisions an active 
removal of foul air may be effected by differences of temperature, in- 
creased possibly by waste heat available. The leading idea should be 
to give the most advantageous direction to the natural currents of air. 
Systematic supply of fresh air, combined in some form with the heating 
apparatus, is appropriate in many cases, particularly as it permits some 
control over the purity, temperature and humidity of the air entering 
the building. 



THE SANITATION OF AIR 31 

Mechanical or forced ventilation finds application where the number 
of people, excess of heat, or other conditions creating unwholesome 
atmosphere, can not be overcome by any other method. Theaters and 
crowded assembly halls, class rooms, hospitals, certain laboratories and 
workshops, hotel kitchens, public smoking and toilet rooms, generally 
need a rapid renewal of air. The ventilation of such places should be 
positive, that is, it should not be dependent to any extent upon weather 
or temporarily favorable conditions. Of course, when subject to spon- 
taneous ventilation, such rooms will require less of the artificial kind. 
Indeed, it is important always to utilize the natural means at hand, 
and to omit none of the preventive measures that may help to relieve 
the situation. Buildings should be designed with due regard to airing 
and to avoid, if possible, the necessity for a mechanical system. The 
latter should always be considered as a sort of emergency device and 
reduced to the utmost simplicity consistent with the need. Of course, 
simplicity must not be secured at the expense of quality or efficiency. 
The latter depends mostly upon the purity, perfect distribution and the 
control over the temperature of the air supply. Moderate volumes, 
well applied, are better and more economical than large quantities 
indifferently, indiscriminately, almost criminally introduced. When 
designed and equipped on the right principles, buildings will be less 
dependent upon the uncertainties of complex machinery, incompetence 
or indifference of operators, parsimoniousness of owners, and all those 
contigencies which so often have turned a well-intentioned, but too 
complicated, apparatus into a dead letter, a lot of junk, or even a 
nuisance and a menace to health, instead of a means of relief. The 
undesirability of mechanical devices increases rapidly with their com- 
plexity and age. Deterioration is bound to set in. The simplest 
means to accomplish the end is not only the most economical, but it is 
the best guarantee for successful operation in the long run. 

Building Reform. — The extreme utilization of space which is the 
common tendency in much of our urban architecture has passed the 
sanitary danger line. There are too many investors, or speculators, 
who do not care whether a structure is fit for habitation. Unfortu- 
nately, architects do not always realize the meaning of the demands 
put upon them, and that those exaggerated proportions, growing out 
of the fight for light and air, will make sanitation more difficult and 
are unfair to the neighbor. When building on a plot of ground, any 
adjoining property should be given an equal chance for vertical expan- 
sion, giving leave to any one to do unto you the same, with profit. 
Some of the flagrant encroachments lately seen upon other men's right 
to nature's freedom have really been nothing short of criminal. The 
limitation of the sky scraper is really but a question of fair dealing 
with one's neighbor. 



32 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

The campaign for tenement-house reform, lately rewarded by 
splendid results, has been a step in the right direction. Its bearing on 
the building laws is one of the most important benefits. The provi- 
sions calling for greater court area and other features calculated to 
relieve crowding and to assist natural ventilation should be made even 
more sweeping and extended to all classes of buildings. 

To improve the housing, for rich and poor, and to make a city more 
healthful generally, we must aim to relieve this excessive crowding. 
A good beginning has been made by the fight for small parks. More 
of these breathing spots are needed, sorely needed. Healthy play- 
room for the children of those unbroken rows of flats is hard to ob- 
tain, but it must be secured, if only to break up the monotony of 
brick and stone and relieve it with some wholesome vegetation, 
cooling, purifying bits of nature. Even if limited to a single block, 
small parks could be utilized for schools, as is done frequently in 
smaller towns. This would be really the ideal way of securing their 
full benefit, the children profiting in the day, adults in the evening, 
and the neighborhood all the time. The plan of locating public build- 
ings and schools on open squares or parks may be luxury in country 
towns, but it is a necessity in large cities from a sanitary point of view. 
This idea, once recognized and rooted, might be the wedge for a new 
method of securing sites, of making the school the excuse, or rather 
the necessity, for another small park. It should at once be adopted in 
outlying districts where space is less expensive. The finest sites set 
apart for public institutions have never been found too good and always 
will prove the best investment of public funds from every point of view. 
It can not but influence the private owner to plan and build with a 
broader purpose than the immediate commercial gain, which has 
demoralized the arts and crafts, the architecture of the day, and will 
be a testimony to future generations of the materialism of our age. 

To bring daylight into the dwellings of the ignorant masses is to 
educate them and to banish dirt, filth and disease. More light inci- 
dentally brings more air and purer air. But there is need for sanitary 
reform also in the dwellings of the rich. It should begin with more 
sensible building plans, a return to simplicity in design and construc- 
tion with a view to inducing salubrity as the first principle of hygiene. 
It is not so much the quantity of air that is to be considered, but rather 
the quality. Let us have not only more air, but purer air, as from the 
open country or the sea. Sanitation of the air is a lesson taught by 
nature. Civilization must apply it for humanity, for the wholesome 
enjoyment of life to all. 



THE JEWS: RACE AND ENVIRONMENT 



33 



THE JEWS : A STUDY OF EACE AND ENVIRONMENT. IV. 



By Dr. MAURICE FISHBERG 

NEW YORK 



Mortality 
HHHE bulk of the Jewish population in the orient and eastern 



JL 



Europe lives mostly in the oldest and most congested parts of 



cities amid squalid and unsanitary surroundings, where the mortality 
rates are, by general experience, known to be excessive. Physically, 
the eastern European Jews appear to be weak, anemic and decrepit 
when compared with the christian population, and in addition they are 
mainly engaged in indoor occupations. These peculiarities would lead 
one to expect a priori that the mortality rates among them would be 
much higher than among other people, who live mostly under better 
hygienic and sanitary conditions, have a large proportion of agricul- 
turists who live in the open country, and are engaged in outdoor occu- 
pations, and to all outward appearances are more robust and healthy. 
It is a remarkable fact, however, that the contrary is true. The figures 
in the appended table, giving the results of most recent official censuses 



Country. 


Year. 


Annual Mortality per 1000. 


Mortality of 

Christians 

100, Jews — 


Jews. 


Christians. 




1901 

1902 
1895-1900 

1901 

1897 

1903 

1901 
1901-1904 

1904 

1904 

1901 

1903 

1900 

1902 


20.58 
20.02 
19.70 
18.22 
17.82 
17.29 
17.26 
14.80 
14.22 
13.32 
13.26 
13.20 
12.27 
12.11 


23.14 
29.06 
35.90 
24.59 
36.49 
27.24 
25.18 
19.10 
20.44 
17.12 
20.02 
19.00 
17.44 
23.08 


88.93 


Roumania 


68.54 


Cracow (Galicia) ... 
Warsaw (Poland)... 


64.00 
74.09 
48.81 
63.47 




65.93 

77 48 


Prussia 


69.57 




77.80 


Prague 


66.23 




69.47 


Amsterdam 

Bavaria 


70.36 
52 47 







in various countries, show that the rates are much lower among the 
Jews than among other Europeans. Only in Algeria and Roumania 
do the rates exceed twenty per 1,000 population, but in all the other 
mentioned countries the annual rates are less than twenty: In Poland 
(Cracow and Warsaw) it is between 18 and 19; in European Eussia, 
Hungary and Austria, 17; in Prussia, 14; in the capitals of Prussia, 
Bohemia and Hungary, only 13; and in Amsterdam and Bavaria the 
low rates are almost unprecedented, only 12 per 1,000. A yet lower 



34 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

mortality rate was found among 10,618 Jewish families, including 
60,630 persons living in the United States December 31, 1889. In 
the figures published in Census Bulletin No. 19 (Washington, December 
30, 1890) it appears that the death rate was only 7.11 per 1,000, which 
is but ' little more than half the annual death rate among other persons 
of the same social class and conditions living in this country.' 

The low death rates of the Jews are more strikingly demonstrated 
when compared with the mortality of the christian population of the 
countries in which they live. This is done in the fourth column of figures 
in the table; the mortality of the non- Jewish population is taken as 
100. It is seen that the Jewish death rate in Algeria is but 89 per 
cent, of the mortality of the other Europeans in that country; in 
Bavaria it is a little over, and in European Eussia even less than, fifty 
per cent, of the christian mortality. In other words, the death rates 
of the Jews are from eleven to fifty per cent, less than those of the 
christians. 

These favorable mortality rates of the Jews are not a recent phe- 
nomenon. At all times when statistics on the subject were compiled 
it was found to be the case. The censuses of Prussia give some very 
interesting figures in this connection. The rates since 1820 were as 
follows : 

Average Annual Mortality per 1,000 

Year Jews Christians 

1820-66 20.40 

1878-82 17.53 25.23 

1888-92 15.71 23.26 

1893-97 14.73 21.84 

1900 14.96 21.70 

1904 14.22 20.44 

It is thus seen that the mortality in Prussia has been sinking in 
recent years among both Jews and christians, decreasing by about 
twenty per cent, since 1878 in both groups. This is of*course to be 
attributed to advancement in economic, social, hygienic and sanitary 
conditions. But it is remarkable that there is no change in the ratio 
of Jewish to the christian mortality; it was in 1878 sixty-nine per cent. 
of the mortality of the christian and remained the same in 1904. 
Hungary is another country where reliable statistics are available for 
fifteen years. The figures are as follows: 

Deaths per 1,000 

Year Jews Christians 

1891-95 19.07 33.12 

1896-1900 16.87 27.62 

1901 16.95 25.94 

1902 17.42 27.89 

1903 17.29 27.24 

Here it is to be noted that the mortality of the Jews was in 1891 
more favorable than in 1903. The decrease during the last fifteen 



THE JEWS: RACE AND ENVIRONMENT 35 

years was more marked among the christians: In 1891 the Jewish 
mortality was 57.58 per cent, of the christian mortality, while in 1903 
it was 63.47 per cent., which indicates that they are approaching the 
mortality rates of their non-Jewish neighbors. Data for Warsaw, 
Poland, show the same process: In 1882 the mortality was, Jews 24.48, 
general population 32.34; in 1891, Jews 20.27, general population 
23.05; 1896, Jews 20.42, general population 23.54; in 1901, Jews 
18.22, general population 21.22. All this indicates that in recent years 
the differences in the mortality between Jews and christians are being 
obliterated. 

Death is a biological phenomenon, and can not be influenced by 
purely ethical or metaphysical factors, such as, for instance, religion, 
when Jews are compared with christians. Differences in religion are 
consequently not sufficient to explain the differences in the mortality 
rates between Jews and non-Jews. Nor can racial affinities explain 
completely the low mortality of the Jews, because physically the Jews 
bear a striking resemblance to the non-Jewish races and peoples among 
whom they live, and also because the differences in the rates are too 
large in each country to admit racial uniformity. A study of differ- 
ences in social and economic conditions is more fruitful of results. 
Thus, in Budapest the death rate of the Jews was only 69.47 per cent, 
of that of the christians. But, as is aptly pointed out by Korosi, ac- 
cording to the census of 1891, out of every 1,000 inhabitants there were 
common laborers, among the catholics 118, among the Lutherans 125, 
among the Jews only 67; domestic servants were found, among 1,000 
catholics 95, Lutherans 98, and among the Jews only 17; merchants 
were found, among 1,000 catholics 20, Lutherans 36, while among the 
Jews the figure was 131. These social differences are of sufficient im- 
portance to greatly influence the death rates and to account for the 
favorable showing made by the Jews. As is well known, certain occu- 
pations are more deadly than others. When to this are added other 
social factors which differentiate the Jews from the christians, such as 
the rarity of alcoholism and illegitimacy among the former, and the 
proverbial care bestowed by them on their offspring, thus contributing 
to a low infant mortality, the effects of the social factors become 
apparent. 

Infant Mortality 
All this is depicted in a striking manner when infantile mortality 
among Jews is considered. It appears, namely, from all available data 
that the Jews do not have the advantage over others when deaths of 
adults, particularly persons over fifty, are compared. It is only during 
infancy and childhood that fewer deaths occur among them. In 
Prussia, where the mortality rates are classified in the census reports 



36 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

according to the age of the individual whether he is less than or over 
fifteen years old, we find that the mortality of the young is less than 
one half that of the christians. In 1904 48.89 per cent, of all the 
deaths among christians in that country occurred in individuals less 
than fifteen years of age, while among the Jews only 19.78 per cent, 
of all deaths were in persons of these ages. In Berlin it was in 1904, 
christians 42.05 and Jews 20.28, also less than one half among the 
Jews. In Amsterdam the deaths recorded in 1900 were distributed 
by ages as follows: 

Age Christians Jews 

— 1 25.23 per cent. 18.76 per cent. 

1-13 15.68 per cent. 11.72 per cent. 

13-64 33.58 per cent. 33.38 per cent. 

64 -f- 25.51 per cent. 36.14 per cent. 

Here also the mortality during infancy and childhood was smaller 
among the Jews than among the christians; between the ages of 13 
to 64 it was equal among both classes, while among the old it was more 
frequent among the Jews. The same condition has been found in 
Hungary, where the mortality of children below seven years of age is 
49.5 per cent, among the christian population, and only 43.69 per cent, 
among the Jews. 

Objections may be raised against this method of calculating the 
mortality of children, because it must first be ascertained whether the 
distribution of the population by age classes is the same in both groups. 
This is particularly the case with the Jews, whose birth rates are lower 
than those of christians. A smaller number of births means a smaller 
number of infants, and consequently a smaller number of deaths. The 
best way to compare the mortality of Jews and christians is to calcu- 
late the proportion of deaths per 1,000 persons at each age period, i. e., 
to ascertain the death rates at each age in both classes, Jews and chris- 
tians. But this is difficult because there are no available data pub- 
lished in census reports. The exact infantile mortality is, however, easily 
ascertained by finding the ratio of deaths of infants below one year old 
to the number of births in a given year (excluding still-births). In 
the following table are given some figures about the infant mortality 
in some European countries: 

Deaths of Infants per 1,000 Births 
Country Jews Christians 

Amsterdam (1900) 92.77 139.56 

European Russia ( 1897 ) 150.80 274.30 

Cracow ( 1894-97 ) 155.47 170.84 

Hungary ( 1902) 95.20 164.60 

Here also a lower infant mortality is seen among the Jews. Of 
1,000 Jewish children born among the Jews in Amsterdam during 1900, 



THE JEWS: RACE AND ENVIRONMENT 37 

907 survived the first year, while among the christians in that city 
only 861 survived; in Eussia the figures stand, Jews 849, christians 
726; and in Cracow, Jews 845 and christians 829. This has a great 
bearing on the expectation of life of the Jews. According to the cal- 
culations presented in Census Bulletin No. 19, 1890, the expectation 
of life of the Jews is much more favorable than that of the christian 
population of the United States. Assuming 100,000 Jewish indi- 
viduals to have been born on the same day (among which there would 
probably be 50,684 males and 49,316 females), 45,680 males and 44,995 
females will survive the first year; 41,731 males and 42,326 females 
will survive the fifth year, etc. At the end of about 71 years one half 
of them will be dead. Taking the data for Massachusetts for 1878-82, 
of 100,000 American infants born (among which there would probably 
be 51,253 males and 48,747 females) only 41,986 males and 41,310 
females would survive the first year; 36,727 males and 36,361 females 
would survive the fifth year; and half of them would be dead at the 
end of about 47 years. 

While these figures are open to criticism because, as has been 
pointed out by Hoffman, the method adopted for the calculation of the 
life-tables is not stated in detail, still it may be stated without any 
hesitation that the longevity of the Jews in the United States and 
Europe is superior to that of the non-Jewish population. There is 
also no doubt that this superiority is mainly due to the lower mortality 
during infancy and childhood. It is doubtful whether there are any 
differences in mortality rates during adolescence and middle life be- 
tween Jews and christians. Among persons of advanced age, over fifty, 
the rates are higher among the Jews, simply because a larger number 
reach that age. 

The lower mortality of Jewish infants is not due to any special 
inherent vitality, but finds its explanation in certain social causes: 
Jewesses in eastern Europe almost invariably nurse their infants at 
the breast, and it is rare to find among them an infant brought up on 
artificial feeding. The mortality of breast-fed children is much below 
that of hand-fed. Jewish mothers only rarely go to work after mar- 
riage, and can therefore bestow all possible care on their infants, which 
can not be said to be invariably true among the poorer classes of popu- 
lation in eastern Europe and America. In western Europe the Jews 
are economically on a higher plane than the general population, and 
when infant mortality is discussed it must be recalled that it is much 
smaller among the well-to-do than among the poor. The Jews should 
be compared with the wealthier classes of western Europe and not with 
the general population. To these social factors there must also be 
added the fact that the birth rates of the Jews are lower than those 
among the christians. A high mortality can not be expected when 
fewer children are born. In fact, in Eussia, where the birth rate of 

vol. xxx. — 3. 



38 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

the Jews is high (compared with conditions among western European 
Jews), the infant mortality is also higher, though not so high as the 
mortality of the Greek orthodox, whose birth rates are the highest in 
Europe. 

Arthur Euppin, who has studied the problem thoroughly, insists 
that the superiority of the expectation of life of the Jews is mainly 
due to the higher infant mortality among christians, which drags down 
the average duration of life. " To use a coarse example : The expecta- 
tion of life of a christian child on the day of its birth is, roughly stated, 
about forty years, as against sixty years of the Jewish child; at the 
tenth birthday the probable duration of life of the christian child is 
fifty-five, while that of the Jewish child is sixty-five; and at the 
twentieth birthday the probable duration of life is, for both, seventy 
years, i. e., the expectation of life of the christian is equal to that of 
the Jew as soon as the christian has passed his years of infancy and 
childhood, and reached adolescence." 

" The best illustration," Euppin goes on to say, " of this condition, 
is perhaps to be seen when we take definite statistical data of a given 
city, say Budapest, Hungary. The mortality during 1902 was 14.17 
per 1,000 among the Jews, and 21.81 among the christians. The Jews 
were favored by the following factors : 

1. A Low Infantile Mortality. — The proportion of death of infants under 
one year was during that year 9.52 per cent, of all the births from Jewish 
mothers and 16.46 per cent, of all the births from christian mothers. If the 
infant mortality was as high among the Jews as among the christians the 
number of Jews who died during that year would have been larger by 320, and 
through that the mortality would have been increased by 1.89, i. e., the death 
rate would have been 16.06 instead of 14.17. 

2. The Lower Birth Rate of the Jews. — The birth rate per 1,000 population 
was, namely, 27.29 among the Jews and 32.74 among the christians. If the 
Jews had relatively as many births as the christians had, the mortality rate, 
on the basis of the Jewish infant mortality just determined above, would have 
been larger by 0.48 per 1,000; their general death rate would have been in- 
creased to 16.54 from 16.06. 

3. The Smaller Mortality of Children under Ten Years of Age (excepting 
Infants under One Year). — The proportion of deaths of children between one 
and ten years old was 2.15 per 1,000 among the Jews and 3.73 among the 
christians. If the Jewish mortality at these ages were as high as that of the 
christians, 266 more Jews would have died during that year, and the general 
mortality rates would have increased by 1.57 per 1,000, or instead of 16.54 it 
would have been 18.11. 

In this manner one half of the difference in death rates between 
Jews and christians in Budapest is wiped out. It stands now as 18.11 
for Jews, and 21.81 for christians. The remaining difference in the 
rates of 3.7 per 1,000 in favor of the Jews, can also be accounted for 
by other social factors, and no special physiological tenacity of life 
of the Jews need be considered as the cause. One has only to recall 
that alcoholism is very rare among the Jews, and that the Sabbath 



TEE JEWS: BACE AND ENVIRONMENT 39 

is a day of rest among the orthodox Jews in eastern Europe, and not 
of drink and dissipation, to find a reason for greater immunity to cer- 
tain diseases, and to a lesser liability to accidental death. Their occupa- 
tions also are mainly of the kind in which violent or accidental deaths 
are not of frequent occurrence. There are, relatively, very few Jews 
engaged in shipping, mining and dangerous trades generally. The 
deleterious effects of the indoor occupations in which the Jews are 
largely employed are mostly manifesting themselves in the anemia and 
poor physique which are characteristic of them. But, on the other hand, 
they are rarely exposed to the inclemencies of the weather, and thus 
acute articular rheumatism, pneumonia, etc., are less often a cause of 
death among them than among others. In fact, diseases of the respira- 
tory organs, including tuberculosis, have been observed to be less com- 
monly a cause of death among the Jews in Eussia, Hungary, Austria, 
England and America. 1 Their partial immunity to consumption is 
astonishing, considering that they are mostly engaged at indoor occupa- 
tions, working long hours in unhealthy sweatshops, and living in the 
most congested parts of the cities. Perhaps a good explanation may 
be found in the confined Ghetto life in which they have been compelled 
to live for centuries, and which has adapted their organism to indoor 
life much better than other civilized peoples, who have a large propor- 
tion of agriculturists and outdoor workers. During the long years 
of Ghetto life most of those whose organism could not adapt itself to 
the confined atmosphere succumbed and were thus eliminated. It is a 
general observation that races that are not adapted to indoor life 
quickly succumb to consumption as soon as they attempt to live in 
modern dwellings. Among the uncultured ' blanket ' Indians of our 
western plains, and among the Indians of Peru, the Khirgiz Tartars 
and other savage tribes of Africa and Australia, all of which live out- 
doors, the disease is almost unknown. But as soon as the same people 
are taken to modern cities, they can not stand it, but soon contract 
various diseases common in large cities, particularly tuberculosis. They 
have not had the opportunity to slowly adapt themselves to an indoor 
existence, as was the case with the Jews. 

Suicide 
That purely social factors are the underlying cause of the low 
mortality rates of the Jews, and that with changes in their social con- 
ditions there occur also changes in the death rates, are well illustrated 
by the frequency of suicide among them. Statistics collected by 
Morselli (' Suicide,' p. 122) show that during the third quarter of the 
last century Jews only rarely committed suicide. He attributes it 
partly to racial, and partly to religious influences, and maintains that 
individuals fervently devoted to religion, especially women (nuns and 

1 See ' The Relative Infrequeney of Tuberculosis among Jews,' by the author, 
in American Medicine, November 2, 1901. 



4 o POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

lay sisters) furnish very few suicides. A study of more recent sta- 
tistics about the Jews confirms this view. In eastern Europe and the 
orient, where they are ardently devoted to their religion, a Jewish 
suicide is very rare; in some cities in Russia or Galicia, with over 20,000 
Jews, more than ten years often pass without a Jew taking his own 
life. During the first half of the last century, when the social and 
economic condition of the Jews in western Europe was not much 
superior to that of their eastern European coreligionists of to-day, self- 
destruction was also rare among them. With the decline of the in- 
tensity of religious belief which is characteristic of the contemporaneous 
Jews in western Europe and America an adoption of the habits and 
customs of the christian population has been noted, among which sui- 
cide may be mentioned as a social fact important for study. 

In eastern Europe suicide is even to-day less frequent among the 
Jewish than among the christian population. In Cracow, for instance, 
one per cent, of all the deaths during 1895-1900 was self-inflicted 
among the christians, as against only 0.4 per cent, among the Jews; 
in Budapest, Hungary, the rates in 1902 were as follows: 

Number of Suicides pee 1,000 Population 

Christians Jews 

Men 6.79 4.61 

Women 2.35 1.00 

Total 4.44 2.88 

Suicide is here less frequent among the Jews than among others. 
But proceeding to western Europe, where the Jews are affected 
by what Morselli characterizes as the ' universal and complex influence 
to which we give the name civilization/ the proportion of suicides is 
at present much larger among the Jews than among christians, although 
but fifty years ago it was uncommon. Thus in Wurtemberg during 
1846-60 the rate was on the average annually among protestants 
113.5, among catholics 77.9, and among Jews only 65.6 per 1,000,000 
population. During 1898-1902 the rates increased to 252 among the 
Jews and to only 162.7 among the christians. In Bavaria the suicide 
rates were during 1844-56, Jews 105.9, protestants 135.4 and cath- 
olics 49.1 per 1,000,000. Since 1870 a steady increase was noted as 
follows : 

Number of Suicides per 1,000,000 Population 

Catholics Protestants Jews 

1870-79 73.5 194.6 115.3 

1880-89 95.3 221.7 185.8 

1890-99 92.7 210.2 212.4 

The increase in the rates of self-destruction among the Jews has 
thus been so pronounced within the thirty years since 1870 that it is 
now much higher than among the christian population of Bavaria. 
The greatest increase has, however, been observed in Prussia. During 



THE JEWS: RACE AND ENVIRONMENT 41 

1849-55 it was rare among them, only 46.4 per million Jews, as against 
49.6 among catholics, and 159.9 among protestants. It so increased 
in frequency that during 1869-72 it was, Jews 96, catholics 69 and 
protestants 187; and the increase during the following years was so 
severe that the Jews outstripped the christians during 1892-1901. 

Rates of Suicide pee 1,000,000 Population 

Men Women 

Jews 370.4 124.1 

Christians 321.5 81.1 

All these figures show conclusively that the rates of suicide among 
the Jews are not at all influenced by ethnic factors. The social en- 
vironment is solely responsible for the infrequency of self-destruction 
among the Jews in eastern Europe, where they live in strict adherence 
to their faith and traditions; while in western Europe, where they co- 
mingle with their christian neighbors, adopting their habits and customs, 
the rates of suicide increase. Considering that there is a lesser number 
of children among the Jews, and that suicide is rare among the young, 
and that they are mostly town dwellers, engaged in mercantile and finan- 
cial pursuits, there is good reason for the higher rates among them 
than among others. Further proof of the influence of environment 
is adduced by the fact that with a change of environment there is 
also a perceptible change in the suicide rates. The Jewish immigrants 
in New York city are much given to self-destruction, although in their 
native homes suicide is very rare. There are no available statistics as 
to the exact annual number of Jewish suicides in New York city, but 
an inquiry by Mr. John Paley, editor of a Yiddish daily, elicited 
the following information : " About fifteen years ago suicide was un- 
common among the immigrant Jews, so much so that I always gave 
each case reported a prominent place in my paper. To-day conditions 
have changed. There are so many cases of Jewish suicides that unless 
it is a prominent person, or there are special news features connected 
with the case, I do not at all mention it in the columns of my daily." 
He estimates that there are six Jewish suicides on the average weekly 
in New York City. If this figure is near the truth, and I am inclined 
to believe it is, then the suicide rate among the Jews in New York 
is appalling. The aversion to self-destruction of the eastern European 
Jew is thus seen not to be racial. As soon as he is brought face to 
face with a more complex life in New York City, as soon as his devotion 
to his religion is more or less dwindling, any serious reverse in life is 
liable to discourage him to the extent of causing him to terminate his 
existence. 

IV. Natural Increase of Population 

From the preceding studies it was evident that the birth, marriage 
and death rates were everywhere in Europe lower among the Jews than 



42 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



among their non-Jewish neighbors. It is of importance now to in- 
quire what are the effects of these low rates on the increase of the 
Jewish population. Population increases, as is well known, by the 
excess of the number of births over deaths, and it is important to in- 
quire whether the small birth rates of the Jews are everywhere com- 
pensated by the low death rates, or whether even their low mortality is 
insufficient to leave a substantial surplus because the number of births 
is so small as to be insufficient to replace those lost annually by deaths. 

In general terms it can be stated that there are two ways by which 
a population may replace its losses by deaths : First, by a high birth 
rate much in excess of the death rate. This is usually the rule in com- 
munities in a low state of culture, among agricultural classes, and also 
among the poorer and laboring classes in European and American 
industrial centers. The death rate, especially the infant mortality, 
is very high, but this is compensated by early marriages, and a sub- 
stantial prolificacy. On the whole, the average duration of life is, in 
such communities, comparatively short ; the population is being renewed 
at frequent intervals. 

Communities in a higher state of culture, on the other hand, have 
generally lower birth, marriage and death rates, particularly the infant 
mortality is more favorable. It requires a longer period of time for 
such a community to renew its population, because the average duration 
of life is superior. This is observed generally among the upper ten 
thousand of modern civilized states, particularly in large cities. From 
a sociological and economic standpoint this method of perpetuation 
of the population, if kept within certain limits, has its advantages 
over the former method. To use Spencer's terminology, it decreases 
the expenditure on genesis, leaving sufficient for individual evolution. 
In other words, the smaller the number of children born has as a con- 
comitant a smaller infant mortality, and also gives the parents an 
opportunity to raise their offspring on a more desirable standard. 

A glance at the figures brought together in the preceding studies 
shows that the Jews, judged by the social and economic environment 
in which we found them, can be placed in either one of the mentioned 
classes of fertility. To begin with the natural increase, i. e., the an- 
nual excess of births over deaths per 1,000 population, it is found that 
there are great differences between eastern and western European Jews. 



Country. 


Excess of Births 
Over Deaths. 


Country. 


Excess of Births 
Over Deaths. 




Jews. 


Christians. 


Jews. 


Christians. 


Algeria (1901) 


24.09 
17.70 
17.61 
16.63 
14.90 
12.34 


9.43 
1.30 
16.87 
11.83 
10.68 
13.80 


Prague (1901) 

Berlin (1904) 


2.59 
3.70 
4.49 
4.60 
4.70 


11.29 


Cracow (1899) 

European Russia (1897).. 
Austria (1901) 


10.24 


Prussia (1904) 


16.49 


Bavaria (1900) 


12.60 


Hungary (1903) 


Hesse (1901-1904) 


14.90 


Eoumania (1902) 









TEE JEWS: FACE AND ENVIRONMENT 43 

In the former the excess is large, while in the latter it is small. This 
is seen from the table given above. 

In Algeria, the only oriental country where vital statistics of the 
Jews are published, the natural increase is very great. The social 
conditions of the native Jews in that country are purely oriental. 
Early marriages are the rule, and celibacy almost unknown. This 
brings about a high rate of fertility; their birth rate was 44.67 per 
3,000, with a correspondingly high mortality rate of 20.58. But after 
all the excess of births over deaths is large, reaching annually 24.09 
per 1,000. In European Eussia, where social conditions of the Jews 
are more occidental, the excess of births is smaller, only 17.61; in 
Austria, 16.63 ; in Hungary, 14.90, and in Eoumania, 12.34. All these 
eastern European Jews show rates of natural increase characteristic of 
eastern people. Proceeding to western Europe we find a different con- 
dition of affairs. The rates of proliferation are low, owing to the low 
marriage and birth rates; even their favorable mortality rates are in- 
sufficient to leave a substantial excess of births over deaths. Thus in 
Bavaria the natural increase was during 1900 only 4.60, while among 
the non-Jewish population it was nearly three times as large, 12.6; in 
Prussia the natural increase was in 1904, Jews 4.49, and christians 
16.4; in cities it is even lower, only 3.70 in Berlin (10.24 among chris- 
tians) and in Prague 2.59 (11.29 among christians). The influence of 
social and economic conditions on the natural increase of the Jews is 
well displayed in the various provinces of the Austrian Empire. In 
Galicia, where the majority of the Jews live in poverty and want, and 
are rigidly devoted to their religion, the natural increase was during 
100, 17.92 per 1,000 (christians, 16.61) ; in Bukowina, where condi- 
tions are about the same, it was 12.66 (christians,15.83) ; but in Lower 
Austria where their social, intellectual and economic conditions are 
much superior, it was only 7.69, while in Bohemia, where the majority 
of the Jews are well-to-do and are socially comparable with the western 
European Jews, the natural increase is very low, lower even than in 
Berlin, only 1.35 per 1,000 (christians, 10.76). There are good rea- 
sons to believe that in Italy, France, England and the United States, 
the same conditions prevail among the native Jews. 

These conditions are only a recent phenomenon among the Jews 
in western Europe. During the first half of the nineteenth century 
the excess of births over deaths was equal, and even superior to that 
of the christians. In Prussia, for instance, the average annual birth 
rate during 1822-40 was 35.46; the death rate, 21.44; leaving an 
excess of births over deaths of 14.02 per 1,000, as against only 10.40 
among the christian population (births 40.01 and deaths 29.61). This 
excess began to sink gradually but regularly, as can be seen from the 
following figures : 



44 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Excess of Bieths ovee Deaths 

Jews Christians 

1885 10.33 12.29 

1890 7.64 12.58 

1895 6.66 15.12 

1900 4.52 14.57 

1904 4.49 16.49 

Similar conditions are observed in Bavaria, where the natural in- 
crease was larger among the Jews than among the christians in 1876, 
when a decline began to be noted among both groups, but with a much 
greater severity among the Jews than among the christians. 

Jews Christians 

1876 15.8 14.1 

1880 12.9 10.8 

1885 9.9 10.0 

1890 6.0 8.8 

1895 4.8 12.4 

1900 4.6 12.6 

The excess of births over deaths among the Jews has thus dwindled 
tc less than one third in Prussia since 1822, and in Bavaria to a little 
over one third since 1876. This decline in the natural increase of the 
Jews is not only characteristic of western European Jews, but is also 
beginning to be noted in eastern Europe. In Hungary, where the rate 
was among the non- Jewish population only 9.69 during 1891-95, and 
with slight fluctuations rose to 10.68 in 1903, the tendency among 
the Jews was decidedly in the opposite direction. It was 17.79 during 
1891-1895, and sank to 16.07 in 1901 and even to 14.90 in 1903. The 
same conditions are observed among Jews in other European countries. 

V. Summary and Conclusions 
The demographic facts presented in the preceding studies lead to 
but one generalization: The birth, marriage and death rates of the 
Jews may be taken as an index of their social, economic and intel- 
lectual conditions. Wherever they are isolated by hostile legislation, 
compelled to live apart from the general population, confined in 
Ghettos, thus deprived of every opportunity to enter into intimate 
social intercourse with christians; wherever, largely as a result of this 
isolation, they are on a low economic and intellectual standard, their 
birth and marriage rates are high, their death rates, particularly the 
infant mortality, correspondingly high, and practically no intermar- 
riage with christians takes place. Hostile legislation against the Jews 
is shown, by the evidence presented above, to utterly fail in its aims. 
Eepression of the Jews in countries like Eussia has mainly one object 
in view: To make their life so miserable and unbearable as to induce 
them to adopt Christianity, which removes all disabilities. How far 
this policy fails in its aims can be seen from the fact that conversions 



TEE JEWS: RACE AND ENVIRONMENT 45 

of Jews to Christianity are comparatively rare in Russia and Roumania, 
while, in common with all others who are on a low social and economic 
level, their natural increase, i. e., the excess of births over deaths is 
enormous among them. They increase in number in spite of the 
attempt to check them. This is substantiated by the statistical evi- 
dence gathered from the censuses of Russia, Roumania, Poland, Ga- 
licia, etc. 

On the other hand, in western Europe, in Germany, Italy, France, 
England and in America, where the Jews are enjoying civil liberty on 
an equal basis with the general population, and where they are, as a 
result, on a superior plane socially, intellectually and economically, 
their birth and marriage rates are so low, that even with phenomenally 
low death rates there is left a very small excess of births over deaths, 
in fact they show a striking retrogression and decadence. This deca- 
dence is by no means accidental, but can be traced as due to the re- 
markable development they have been undergoing during the last 
seventy-five years, and also to the social intercourse with gentiles which 
in addition also brings about mixed marriages. The children born to 
these mixed couples are lost to the Jews, less than twenty-five per cent, 
and there is good reason to believe that hardly more than ten per cent, 
remain Jews, while the rest is net gain to Christianity. On the whole, 
the native Jews in western Europe and America are being decimated 
by a low birth rate, and absorbed by intermarriage with christians. 
Any increase in their number is due to immigration from eastern 
Europe. 

The demographic facts presented by the Jews may also be taken as 
an index of their religious status. In the orient and in eastern Europe, 
where the devotion to their faith is intense, they have high birth rates, 
early marriages, substantial excess of births over deaths, and no inter- 
marriages with christians occur. In western Europe and in America 
conditions are different and go hand in hand with an evident lessened 
intensity of faith, often amounting to religious indifference. In fact, 
the cruel persecutions and massacres to which they were exposed 
during the last two thousand years have not robbed the Jews of as 
large a proportion of adherents as modern emancipation with its con- 
comitant adaptation of the habits and customs of modern civilized life. 
To take Russia as an example. There the Jews are oppressed mainly 
with one aim in view: to gain them for the Greek orthodox church. 
As soon as he adopts Christianity, the Jew, besides receiving a bonus 
of thirty silver roubles, is also given all the rights enjoyed by the chris- 
tian population. But notwithstanding all these tempting advantages 
offered, less than 90,000 Jews were converted during the nineteenth 
century. In contrast with this may be taken Prussia, where the num- 
ber of Jews is only 392,322 (1900) as against about 5,500,000 in 



46 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Russia. Here, according to J. de la Roi, as many as 13,128 Jews have 
been directly converted to Christianity during the nineteenth century, 
and since mixed marriages were legalized in 1875, 10,160 Jews married 
christians; in Russia no such marriages have taken place, except of 
those who adopted Christianity and are included among the converts. 
In Russia the birth rate was 35.43 in 1897, not much lower than in 
the beginning of the last century. On the other hand, in Prussia the 
rates were high in 1822-40 — 35.46 — but kept on sinking since their 
emancipation, reaching 18.71 in 1904. In other words, if the Jews in 
Prussia had remained in their original civil condition, unaffected by 
modern conditions of life, they would have maintained their birth rates 
as the Jews in Russia, and the number of children born during 1904 
would have been about 13,000 instead of 6,913, as was the case. During 
the thirty years, 1875-1904, there occurred altogether 267,775 births 
by Jewish mothers in Prussia. If they had maintained their birth 
rates at 35 per 1,000, the number born would have been about 385,000 
during that period. The decline in fertility has consequently caused 
a loss of 117,000 to the Jews, and if to this are added the large number 
of conversions and of mixed marriages, which have taken place in that 
country during these thirty years, it is evident that the total loss sus- 
tained by Judaism was larger in Prussia where there are less than 
400,000 Jews, than among the 5,500,000 Jews in Russia during the 
entire nineteenth century. 

The results of these conditions are seen when the relative number 
of Jews in Germany is considered. In 1861 there were 138 Jews to 
10,000 christians; in 1900 the number sank to 114, and the last census 
taken in 1905 shows another decrease — there are only 109.8 Jews to 
10,000 christians. The same has been the case with the Jews in other 
German provinces, excepting Saxony: 

Number of Jews pee 10,000 Christians 

1870 1900 

Germany 125 104 

Prussia 133 114 

Wiirtemberg 67 55 

Bavaria 104 89 

Baden 176 140 

Hessen 297 219 

Saxony 13 30 

Although there was a large emigration of Germans who left for 
America and for German colonies, still there was an enormous increase 
of population in that country. In contrast with this increase are 
the Jews in that country: although very few emigrated within the 
last thirty years, and many Jews from other countries have immigrated 
to Germany, still they have not kept pace with the general increase of 



THE JEWS: RACE AND ENVIRONMENT 47 

population, and in fact show a relative decrease in number. And 
judging by the fact that the birth and marriage rates keep on de- 
creasing, while the mixed marriages and conversions to Christianity 
keep on increasing in number, as was shown in the preceding articles, 
the future of Judaism in Germany is, to put it mildly, not very bright. 
The same process of decadence is observed among the Jews in Italy, 
France, England, America, etc., in varying degrees of intensity. If 
immigration of Jews from eastern Europe should for some reason 
cease, the number of native Jews in these countries would dwindle 
away at a rate appalling to those who have the interests of their faith 
at heart. In the United States the original Jewish settlers, the Spanish 
and Portuguese Jews of the seventeenth, eighteenth and the first half 
of the nineteenth centuries who refrained from intermarriage with 
their German and Polish coreligionists, have practically disappeared; 
very few of them have been left. The Jews are thus paying a high 
price for their liberty and equality — self-effacement. 

Another important conclusion we arrive at while studying the 
above facts and figures is that most of the demographic phenomena 
are not rooted in ethnic causes. The high rates of proliferation, the 
exclusiveness of the Jews manifesting itself in part by endogamy, the 
alleged excessive proportion of male births, the rates of suicide, etc., 
were all attributed to racial influences, to ' Semitic ' characteristics. 
This opinion has its origin in the observations on Jews made during 
the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries, when the 
Jews all over Europe were a homogeneous social mass, all to the same 
extent abused, persecuted and confined in Ghettos. Uniformity of 
social conditions brought about uniform demographic phenomena, 
which were considered racial traits. But the emancipation of the 
Jews in western European countries, releasing them from isolation, 
bringing them into intimate contact with their non-Jewish neighbors, 
has completely transformed them. Eacial traits are not to be oblit- 
erated by a change of milieu during a comparatively short period of 
fifty or one hundred years, nor do they show such wide limits of varia- 
tion as is displayed by the Jews in different countries. There are to-day 
more pronounced differences between the Jews in Prussian Poland and 
Eussian Poland than between Prussian and Italian Jews, although 
but one hundred years ago the Prussian and Polish Jews were demo- 
graphically on the same level. The part of Poland which was taken 
by Prussia with its liberal government has given the Jews an oppor- 
tunity to assimilate with the christian population, while in the part 
of that country taken by Eussia they were compelled to live isolated 
from the general population and they remained backward. 

The demographic phenomena of the Jews are rooted in the social, 
economic and intellectual conditions in which they find themselves. 



48 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



NOTES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF TELEPHONE 

SERVICE. III. 

By FRED De LAND 

PITTSBURG, PA. 

VI. First Commercial Telephone Exchange 
n^HE first commercial telephone exchange system in the world was 
-■- opened in New Haven, in January, 1878, and has been in con- 
tinuous operation ever since. This pioneer exchange was organized by 
Mr. George W. Coy, who now resides in Milford, New Haven County, 
and who, during the twelve years ending with the year 1877, was 
managing the local offices of the Atlantic and Pacific and the Franklin 
Telegraph companies. 

In July, 1877, the local papers in New Haven contained an adver- 
tisement of ' Bell's telephone ' reading in part : 

The proprietors keep the instrument in repair, without charge, and the user 
has no expense except the maintenance of the line. It needs only a wire between 
the two stations, though ten or twenty miles apart, with a telephone at each 
end. . . . The outside of the telephone is of mahogany finely polished and an 
ornament to any room or office. Telephones leased and lines constructed. 

In September, 1877, Mr. Coy secured several Bell telephones and 
installed a few private lines in New Haven, and also displaced some 
district call-boxes with telephones in his local messenger service. Per- 
ceiving how useful the telephone was proving to business houses de- 
siring his messenger service, Mr. Coy concluded that a central telephone 
exchange system would be a desirable thing for the community, pro- 
vided a sufficient number of subscribers could be secured. 

Now in the beginning of the evolution of telephone exchanges, 
there was neither experience nor knowledge to guide the investor or 
the manager. There were no known methods of operation or of main- 
tenance to render uniform and no equipment to standardize, because 
the to-be equipment had yet to be evolved from needs then unknown. 
The Bell company had no factory and supplied only the hand tele- 
phones, which were made to order under contract. Thus each licensee 
was largely thrown on his own resources and compelled to devise much 
of his exchange equipment and to secure from several different sources 
such associated apparatus as was available. Then the installation was 
necessarily made and the lines run with the aid of the telegraphers of 
that day. For in 1877-8, the only ' electricians ' were the men asso- 
ciated with the telegraph companies. The electric light and the trolley 
then had no commercial existence. Thus, through the needs of the 
telephone exchange, was evolved that now very essential person the 



DEVELOPMENT OF TELEPHONE SERVICE 49 

' telephone engineer.' That is why Mr. Coy had not only to plan his 
own central exchange system, but also to devise the necessary switching 
mechanism for his central office. 

Confiding his plan to his friend, Herrick P. Frost, the latter agreed 
to assist Mr. Coy. Not that Mr. Frost knew aught about the telephone 
or telegraph, but because he wanted to make a place for his son, then 
about sixteen. Neither Coy nor Frost could spare the funds necessary 
to build the exchange system, so Mr. Frost borrowed six hundred dol- 
lars from his brother-in-law, Walter Lewis, organized the New Haven 
District Telephone Company, secured a charter, and issued capital 
stock having a par value of five thousand dollars. Of this amount 
Coy and Frost subscribed for $2,000 each and $1,000 was transferred 
in November, 1877, to the parent Bell company for a license granting 
the exclusive right to use Bell telephones in the counties of New 
Haven and Middlesex, in Connecticut. Mr. Coy states that later this 
block of stock given to the Bell Company was repurchased by the 
treasurer of the company for two hundred dollars in cash. 

By virtue of his services as the good angel so essential in pioneer 
undertakings, Walter Lewis was elected to the presidency of the com- 
pany, Mr. Frost was made treasurer and Mr. Coy filled all the other 
offices. Morris F. Tyler was the company's attorney, secured its char- 
ter, obtained the necessary additional loans to enable extensions and 
improvements to be made, took his pay in stock, and later became the 
head of the organization. Incidentally it may be added that on May 
31, 1878, Mr. Frost secured exclusive licenses to use telephones under 
Bell patents for the term of ten years, in the cities of New Haven, 
Hartford, Meriden, Middletown and New Britain, in Connecticut, and 
of Springfield in Massachusetts, subject to his leasing not less than five 
hundred telephones the first year, and expending not less than $8,000, 
including the amount already expended in New Haven. 

Being ready to proceed with the installation of its ' telephone-call 
system,' Mr. Coy mailed to the prominent citizens of New Haven a 
thousand copies of a circular describing the many advantages the sys- 
tem would offer, and earnestly requesting subscriptions for the service. 
It was expected that at least fifty replies would be received, but only 
one subscription was obtained, and to the late Eev. John E. Todd, 
pastor of the Church of the Eedeemer, belongs the honor of being the 
first person in the world to subscribe for the service of a commercial 
telephone exchange system. Quite rightfully Mr. Todd's name headed 
the first list of telephone subscribers ever issued. 

So complete a failure to arouse public interest in the telephone 
system was a bitter disappointment to Mr. Coy. But being a born 
hustler, he immediately sent out a competent canvasser to solicit con- 
tracts. This agent succeeded in ultimately securing over two hundred 



50 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

contracts, for which he was paid a commission of one dollar each. The 
first contract thus secured was that of the New Haven Flour Company 
for five telephones, including one in each of its stores and one in the 
residence of its manager, Mr. George E. Thompson. 

Mr. Coy commenced installing the telephones in November and it 
was his intention to have had his exchange in operation early in De- 
cember, 1877, but so numerous were the mechanical difficulties that 
had to be overcome, so many electrical problems required solving, and 
so slow were the shipments of telephones, that it was not until Jan- 
uary 28, 1878, that the exchange was formally opened, the first service 
being given on January 21, to about thirty subscribers. 

Following the formal opening, the number of subscribers increased 
rapidly, and on February 21, 1878, appeared the first regular list of 
subscribers to a commercial telephone exchange. Fifty stations were 
listed. The second list appeared on March 9, 1878, less than three 
weeks after the first, and recorded about one hundred and twenty-five 
stations. On April 8, 1878, came the third list with two hundred and 
twenty-seven subscribers, including forty-two residences. Thencefor- 
ward there was a steady growth. In all these lists names only were 
shown. Numbering the subscribers to facilitate rapidity in securing 
connections was an afterthought. Even so late as April, 1880, and 
in so important a city as New York, the list of subscribers contained 
no telephone numbers, though there were about one thousand five hun- 
dred names distributed through six exchanges. 

The rates established by Mr. Coy were only eighteen dollars a year 
for a telephone in either the office or the house. But it should be borne 
in mind that the circuits were of single iron wire and grounded, and 
that from ten to sixteen subscribers were on a line, a number that 
would not be tolerated in modern business service. Like many modern 
telephone men, Mr. Coy did not base his rates on what he thought the 
service was likely to cost him, for the eighteen-dollar rate was estab- 
lished before a pole had been erected, but on what he thought the 
public would pay. In January, 1877, the American District Telegraph 
Company introduced a rate of eighteen dollars a year for its call-box 
system in New Haven and cities of similar size, while it charged thirty 
dollars a year in the large cities. So Mr. Coy concluded he could sup- 
ply a telephone as cheaply as a district-box could be furnished; and 
that is how the eighteen-dollar rate came to be established. Thus, as 
early as February, 1878, Mr. Coy was advertising in the local papers 
that ' the company rents them at the extremely low price of five cents 
per day, thereby placing telephones within the reach of all/ And on 
February 14 it was stated that Mr. Coy was ' supplying telephones in 
any part of the city, including service to Fair Haven and Westville 
(separate boroughs, one four miles, the other seven miles distant) for 



DEVELOPMENT OF TELEPHONE SERVICE 51 

eighteen dollars per annum.' And it may be added that the gross 
receipts of the New Haven exchange in the month of February, 1878, 
were $250. 

Mr. Coy was a great believer in press publicity and made liberal 
use of the advertising pages of the local papers, thus keeping the public 
informed concerning all extensions and repairs. In those days the 
weather reports issued by the United States Signal Service were very 
desirable. So Mr. Coy placed a telephone in the office of the weather 
observer, and on March 15, 1878, advertised that 'any one having a 
telephone can make inquiries as to the weather, temperature, barometer, 
etc' A little later Mr. Coy built a pole line nearly seven miles in 
length and ran a circuit to the lighthouse at the east end of the harbor, 
thus benefiting shipping interests by the prompt transmission of cau- 
tionary weather reports, and also enabling his subscribers to keep track 
of the arrival of steamers and other marine craft. 

On May 1, 1878, Mr. Coy had telephones ' placed near the targets,' 
and also 'at the shooting-stand,' connecting the latter to the central 
exchange, thus enabling his subscribers to keep informed concerning 
the scores made at the annual meeting of the rifle association. Another 
feature that is considered essentially modern was introduced in New 
Haven by this company. On November 4, 1878, it advertised that " in 
order to facilitate the collection of election returns from the different 
wards in this city, to-morrow, the company has made arrangements 
for placing a telephone in or near each voting place, in order that the 
returns may be sent to the central office as soon as declared. The re- 
turns will be furnished to any subscriber upon inquiry by telephone." 
Later the daily papers stated that ' the telephone was of great use in 
collecting and transmitting election returns.' 

During the first two months Mr. Coy's exchange occupied one half 
of a ground-floor store room in the Boardman building, corner Chapel 
and State Streets, New Haven. This room then bore the number 219 
Chapel Street, but is now 733. Then the exchange was moved to the 
top floor of the Ford building, directly across Chapel Street; but the 
office of the company remained in the Boardman building. 

Until March 1, 1878, service was given only from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., 
the night operator remaining on duty until that early morning hour 
in order that the newspapers might have telephone service up to the 
hour of going to press. For newspaper reporters quickly realized what 
a blessing the telephone was in accelerating the transmission of a scoop, 
or a good story, or a simple news item, and utilized the service on every 
possible occasion. 

Prior to 1877, if anything happened at a point distant from a tele- 
graph office, and branch telegraph offices in cities were few and far 
between in those days, reporters were in the habit of gathering the 



52 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

names of the participants and the essential facts, and then hastening 
with all possible speed to the editorial rooms. Late at night few horse 
cars were running (then the trolley-car was unknown), and rarely was 
it possible to secure cab or carriage on the scene of action ; so getting a 
good story often meant a long, steady trot for many blocks before the 
editorial rooms were reached. To-day a reporter can prepare his copy 
on the premises, walk to the nearest telephone, talk it to an assistant 
in the editorial rooms who typewrites it as it comes over the wire, and 
the e scoop ' or ' story ' is on the street in less time than the reporter of 
1876 would have consumed in riding or running to his office. And 
with the aid of the telephone, the city editor in the large cities often 
makes many assignments without seeing the respective reporters for 
days at a time. In fact, in the larger cities, certain reporters now 
communicate by telephone with the editorial rooms every half hour 
while on duty, and only visit the main office to draw their salaries. 

After March 1, continuous day and night service was given. 
During the first week one boy operator, Louis H. Frost, son of the 
treasurer, was the sole operating force ; then Julian Cramer was added ; 
on March 1 Fred A. Allen was employed; and later came Charles W. 
Dow. The night operator received a salary of $15 a month, and 
worked from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Incidentally it may be added that Mr. 
Allen and Mr. Dow are still employed in the New Haven telephone 
exchange, and that Mr. Frost is in the livery business in that city. 

In building his subscriber-lines, Mr. Coy erected very few poles 
during the first four months. The grounded-iron circuits were sup- 
ported on brackets fastened to the sides and roofs of buildings, and to 
trees, the owners of the property usually making no charge for this 
right of way. Owing to this method of suspension no two spans of 
wire were the same in length, and slack wire was in evidence the year 
through. Hence, it was only natural that the talking qualities of 
these circuits should never be very good, and invariably be very low 
whenever these wire festoons were swayed by the wind against tin roofs, 
or were grounded on wet roofs or on the dripping branches of trees. 

Thus it naturally came about that on drizzling days the amount of 
shouting required on the part of subscribers striving to carry on a 
conversation with the aid of a single hand telephone was a source of 
much amusement to non-participants, and a probable cause of much 
profanity and ill-feeling to many users of the service. And all the 
blame was placed upon the little wooden telephone in place of the 
wretched construction and the circuits that were constantly being 
crossed or grounded on wet roofs or on the branches of trees. Had 
these early lines been built with all the care and under the engineer- 
ing supervision now expended on the heavy copper metallic circuits, 



DEVELOPMENT OF TELEPHONE SERVICE 53 

excellent talking service would, no doubt, have resulted. For there 
were few vagrant currents sneaking around in those days. 

Yet back to these cheaply constructed subscriber-lines and that 
crude equipment is easily traced the origin of the marvelous system of 
intricate switchboard mechanism, practical and standardized methods, 
and progressive operation known as the modern telephone exchange, 
and by the aid of which a subscriber in New Haven may now talk with 
greater ease to a subscriber in Pittsburg, or in Chicago, than was pos- 
sible when the two subscribers were distant only a block away on wet 
pioneer days in Connecticut. That is, less shouting would be required. 

With the accumulation of experience in constructing telephone 
pole lines covering a period of a quarter of a century, we might wonder 
that Mr. Coy should have put up telephone lines of so crude a character. 
But from whom could he gain experience concerning the construction 
of telephone lines? He built the first commercial telephone line ever 
constructed. Owing to the bitter competition existing between the 
telegraph companies, the telegraphers of those days strove not to see 
how good a telegraph line could be built, but how cheaply it could be 
constructed and yet carry messages when ' sufficient battery ' was 
used. Battery current cost but little, and properly-constructed pole 
lines brought no higher price than rickety lines, when the inevitable 
consolidation was brought about by cut rates. Then the promoter 
pocketed his profit, and the public footed the bill in an increase of 
rates to cover interest charges on the duplicate and non-earning in- 
vestment. In the words of a governmental report dated January, 
1869: 

There is no uniformity in telegraph rates. They are often less to a distant 
(competing) station than to an intermediate one on the same line. In other 
countries the rates are reduced with the growth of business and never raised. 
In this country they are reduced by competition, followed by consolidation of 
the competing companies, and subsequent increase of rates, without regard to 
the growth of the business. 

Yet Mr. Coy followed the approved American practise of 1878, a 
practise that prevailed for several years thereafter, as is evident from 
the official instructions issued by the parent Bell company during the 
years 1879-81. And these instructions certainly make interesting 
reading, now that uniformity in methods and standardization in equip- 
ment and stability in construction are rigidly insisted upon by all 
legitimate telephone companies. 

It was comparatively easy to run telephone circuits in those pioneer 
days when only telegraph or signal companies were stringing wires. 

There were no trolley wires until 1884, and no central station light- 
ing plants prior to 1879. In 1873 William Wallace was building his 
relatively large magneto-machines in Ansonia, which early in 1874 

VOL. LXX. — 4. 



54 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

were connected up and used as dynamos in lighting his factory. In 
1875 he brought out a more compact dynamo that ' was in operation 
furnishing current for electric lights in Machinery Hall during the 
entire period of the Centennial.' In 1877 two Brush ' dynamos built 
for lighting were exhibited and tested at the Franklin Institute in 
Philadelphia/ with a ' ring-clutch ' arc lamp. The first Brush 
* dynamo and lamp actually sold were shipped to Dr. Longworth, of 
Cincinnati, about January, 1878/ and installed by Charles F. Brush. 
In April, 1879, twelve Brush lamps were installed in Cleveland for 
street lighting, and ' on December 20, 1880, Broadway, New York, 
from Fourteenth to Twenty-sixth street was first lighted with fifteen 
Brush lamps/ The first Edison central station was opened in New 
York on September 4, 1882. 

Ten years after the opening of the first telephone exchange central 
electric-lighting stations were in operation in all principal cities. Of 
electric railways, in the beginning of 1887, in the United States ' there 
were only ten installations with an aggregate of less than forty miles 
of track and fifty motor cars, operated mostly from overhead lines 
with traveling trolleys.' The principal practical pioneers were Charles 
J. Van Depoele who built an experimental trolley system in Chicago 
in 1882-83; Leo Daft who, a year later, operated an experimental 
electric locomotive at Saratoga; Bentley & Knight who placed an ex- 
perimental conduit system in operation in Cleveland, in August, 1884; 
J. C. Henry who completed the trolley system in Kansas City in 
1884-85, and Frank J. Sprague's experiments in 1885. 



FOSSIL INSECTS 55 



FOSSIL INSECTS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE 

CLASS INSECTA 1 

By ANTON HANDLIRSCH 
ADJUNCT CURATOR, ROYAL IMPERIAL NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, VIENNA, AUSTRIA 

rpo the majority of mankind, who supposedly are inclined to look 
-*~ on the bright side of life, the sound of the word ' insects ' ever 
recalls the picture of a wide-awake boy with a green net and possibly 
with a botanical box of the same hue, but more vivid in color, chasing 
along after the variegated butterflies and beetles. He seldom over- 
takes them, but positively assures us that he already has a ' nearly 
complete collection of insects of fifty or more species.' With this 
same word ' insects ' many a pessimist, however, will bring to mind 
only the small troublesome pests of his home, perhaps even of his own 
worthy person, or certain minute organisms to which he indirectly 
ascribes the cause of the more and more frequently recurring adultera- 
tion of his wine. In each instance, the matter will be quickly des- 
patched either with a good-natured smile or with a gentle imprecation, 
and only rarely does Homo sapiens attempt to make clear to himself 
what the word ' insects ' really signifies. 

That insects constitute a subdivision of the Arthropoda, to which 
group spiders, crabs and myriapods also belong, and that they are dis- 
tinguished by the possession of only six legs and four or two wings, 
have with other details doubtless been acquired at school, where, too, 
knowledge was surely gained of many forms because of their usefulness 
(bees and silkworms) or because of their injurious character (moths, 
bark-scarabs and plant-lice). 

Of the immense part that insects play in the household of nature 
and especially in science, however, of their truly wonderful diversity 
in bodily structure, of their organization, habits of living and develop- 
ment, as well as of the number of species, the greatest ignorance still 
prevails everywhere. 

In proof of this not too flattering assertion, therefore, we will at 
once proceed to give a statistical summary, strictly in round numbers, 
of the insects now existing and scientifically recorded and named. 

About 3,000 species of grasshoppers and crickets (Locustidas and 
Gryllidas) are known, whose music fills the woods and meadows of both 

1 Translated from the German by Lucy Peck Bush, Peabody Museum, Yale 
University. (Mitt. d. Sect. f. Naturk. d. Osterreich. Tour.-Klub, April, 
1905, pp. 25-30.) 



56 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

hemispheres; and about 4,000 species of their nearest relatives, the 
locusts, or Acrididse, to which group the notorious migratory locusts 
also belong. It is estimated that there are about 2,500 kinds of spec- 
ters, or walking-sticks (Phasmidse), which inhabit tropical regions 
chiefly and are noted for their close resemblance to twigs and leaves. 
Much smaller is the number of those creatures called earwigs, although 
they are neither worms nor crawl into the ears; scientifically they are 
termed Dermaptera, and comprise about 500 species. Less noteworthy 
are the 200 forms of small thrips, or Physopoda. The stately, but 
harmless, praying-crickets, or Mantidse, are represented throughout the 
world by only 800 different species. On the other hand, about 1,200 
kinds of cockroaches, or Blattidae, are known, and this family unfor- 
tunately includes the small Croton-bug and its larger black cousins. 
In warm countries, with these troublesome creatures are associated 
about 400 different species of white ants. The very small insects called 
body-lice, book-lice or wood-lice, which belong to the Corrodentia or 
Copeognatha, are represented in almost equal numbers. Mallophaga 
(bird-lice, which should not be confounded with bird-ticks) already 
number 1,300 species, for nearly every kind of bird has its special 
parasite. On the other hand, luckily, only 50 species of true blood- 
sucking lice have become known, a relatively high percentage of which 
afflicts mankind. One hundred and sixty thousand species is certainly 
not too large a figure to include the hosts of beetles, or Coleoptera, 
which people every corner of the globe, and may be obtained in the 
region of perpetual ice as well as in salt marshes. We are acquainted 
with but 52,000 species of Hymenoptera, or membrane-winged insects, 
among which are the many ' wild ' relatives of the honeybee, the colo- 
nies of ants, the true wasps, digger-wasps, ichneumon-flies, gall-flies, 
saw-flies, golden-wasps and wood-wasps. Of dragon-flies, or libellids 
(Odonata), there may be about 2,300 different kinds at present de- 
scribed, while 300 species of May-flies (Plecoptera) and stone-flies 
(Perlidae) are recognized. True JSTeuroptera (netted-winged insects), 
which also include the ant-lions and lace-winged flies, number 1,400 
species; Panorpidse, or scorpion-flies, about 100, and caddice-flies, or 
Phryganeidse, 1,200. After the beetles, the forms most abundant in 
species are the butterflies, or Lepidoptera; of these science has dis- 
closed the existence of about 55,000 species up to the present time. 
Next come the much less noted two-winged insects, or Diptera, of 
which two main groups, Orthorrhapha (midges, gnats, horse-flies, etc.) 
and Cyclorrhapha (true flies), with 14,000 and 30,000 species, re- 
spectively, share in the sum total of insect forces. The number of 
fleas, or Suctoria, is small in comparison, only 100 species as yet being 
known, one of which lives on the blood of mankind. Further, if the 
30,000 kinds of bugs, cicadas and plant-lice included in the Hemiptera, 



FOSSIL INSECTS 57 

or half wings, are counted, the round sum of 360,000 species of insects 
now known is reached. 

Estimates have been given showing that not more than one sixth 
of all forms actually existing have as yet been described and named, 
so that the number of species (not individuals) now living in the 
present period of the earth's history may be placed at about 2,000,000. 

It is quite conceivable that man in his effort to understand nature 
everywhere surrounding him should not be satisfied merely to study all 
these existing insects and arrange them in a system of orders, families, 
genera, etc., but he would also wish to know how this greatest division 
of the animal kingdom, in specific numbers about doubly exceeding 
all other groups, has been developed, and how and when it has attained 
its present size. 

If we would really learn the primitive history of the insect tribe, 
and not construct it in a speculative manner, we must descend into 
the depths of the earth in order to see whether or not a fortunate 
chance has possibly preserved some remains which might afford us an 
insight into the insect life of previous ages. 

If, as mentioned above, the number of various species of insects 
now existing be taken in round numbers at 2,000,000, and for each 
species at least 1,000,000,000 individuals yearly, which, judging from 
the swarms of bees and gnats, colonies of ants and termites, parasites 
of plants (often millions living on a single tree), certainly seems 
legitimate, an annual total of 2,000,000,000,000,000 (two thousand 
trillions) individuals is obtained, while during the time that man has 
inhabited the earth some hundreds of trillions must have existed. 

And of all these trillions of insect remains, which moderately com- 
puted (about 100 to a gram) represent 1,000 billion kilograms in 
weight, we have as yet found but a few hundred examples, and these 
have been accidentally enclosed in gum (copal), in peat-beds, or 
finally buried in hardened mud. They have thus become more or less 
well preserved, and again by chance have fallen into our hands. All 
these forms clearly demonstrate that the species of insects have not 
materially altered during man's sojourn on the earth. 

It may now be concluded that these results must lead only to dis- 
couragement, for they show very plainly how small a percentage of the 
insect world escapes complete destruction, and how slight is the pros- 
pect of securing any of these remains. 

Notwithstanding this, it has already come to pass that quite a num- 
ber of fossil insects have been brought to light from analogous deposits 
of older periods, and the explanation may be partly found in the fact 
that even these older strata are to be estimated not only by thousands, 
but probably by millions of years, so that the sum total of vanished 
and preserved forms must evidently increase accordingly. 



58 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Although in comparison with the hosts of living forms, researches 
hitherto made have resulted in the insignificantly small number of 
about 10,000 species of fossil insects, yet these few afford us a glimpse 
into the insect life of past ages. Such a collection of extinct species, 
moreover, much exceeds in numbers the recent forms in most univer- 
sity and private collections, which have become the basis of so many 
bold hypotheses. We can thus see or at least have some idea how in 
the course of millions of years the present mighty tree has grown up 
from so small and tender a plant. 

Of the fossil insects thus far obtained, the larger part have come 
from that important period immediately preceding the age of man. 
This is designated the Tertiary period, or the age of mammals. Those 
insect remains preserved in fossil gum (Baltic amber), like artistic 
and permanent microscopic preparations, are indeed well known, and 
of these many thousand specimens have been accumulated in museums. 
On the other hand, less noted, but not less numerous, are the wonder- 
ful impressions found in many places in laminated shales, as in 
OEningen (Baden), Kadoboj (Croatia), in Italy, on the Ehine, in 
Provence, in North America, etc. These are to be likened to nature's 
own printing and provide us with an atlas of the Tertiary fauna in 
which we find very many species that can scarcely be distinguished 
from those living to-day. With the exception of bird-lice, lice and 
fleas, all the principal existing groups of insect throngs are represented 
in Tertiary time, but the remarkable bizarre forms which especially 
delight our eyes to-day were much fewer in number then than now. 
Thus very few large butterflies and no striking types of beetles, such 
as we are accustomed to see in all shop-windows of the dealers, have 
been discovered. 

Even though the character of the Tertiary fauna in general did 
not vary essentially from that now in existence, still the distribution 
of forms over the earth must have been far different. For instance, in 
Germany we find elements that now are met with only in tropical 
lands, from which follows many a conclusion as to the variations of 
climate and of the plant world. Moreover, the numerical distribution 
of species in kindred groups was likewise not the same as that at 
present in force, since among the Tertiary Hymenoptera a much 
smaller percentage of bees is found, among the Diptera there are more 
gnats than flies, among the Orthoptera far more grasshoppers than 
locusts, and only very few walking-sticks, etc. 

Further, when it is stated that in the Tertiary period no single 
type of insect has been hitherto identified which does not still exist, 
and that therefore the numerous amber preparations and the impres- 
sions so beautifully preserved are as yet capable of giving no direct 
answer to our question, we must then turn to the next older period, 



FOSSIL INSECTS 



59 



Tabulae Summary of the Development of Insects in the Various Geological 

Periods 



Palaeodictyoptera (primitive insects, ancestors 

of all other groups) 

Protorthoptera (ancestors of the orthopteroids) 
Orthopteroidea : 

Orthoptera (straight wings): 
Locnstoidea (grasshoppers and crickets) ... 
Acridioidea (locusts) 

Phasmoidea (specters, or walking-sticks) 

Dermaptera (earwigs) 

Physopoda (thrips) 

Protoblattoidea (ancestors of the cockroaches 

and mantids) 

Blattuformia : 

Mantoidea ( praying mantes) 

Blattoidea (cockroaches) 

Isoptera (termites) 

Corrodentia (wood-lice or body lice) 

Mallophaga (bird-lice) 

Siphunculata (true lice) 

Coleopteroidea : 

Coleoptera (beetles) 

Strepsiptera (fan wings) 

Hymenoptera (membrane wings) 

Mixotermitoidea (extinct provisional group)... 

Hapalopteroidea 

Hadentomoidea (? ancestors of the embids) 

Embioidea (embids) 

Perloidea (stone flies) 

Protodonata (ancestors of the odonatids) 

Odonata (libellids) 

Protephemeroidea ( ancestors of the plectopteres) 

Plectoptera (ephemerids, or May-flies) 

Neuropteroidea (netted wings) 

Megasecoptera (ancestors of the panorpoid 

series?) 

Panorpoid ea : 

Panorpata (scorpion-flies) 

Phryganoidea ( Trichoptera, or caddice-flies, 
etc.) 

Lepidoptera (butterflies) 

Diptera (two wings): 
Orthorrhapha (midges, gnats, horse-flies, 

etc. ) 

Cyclorrhapha (flies) 

Suctoria (fleas) 

Protohemiptera (ancestors of the half wings).. 
Hemiptera (half wings) 



O ^ tn 

as 

SCO 










m 




b 

.2 


9 

o 

O 


03 

S 


S 


*-> 
4) 
S 


1-5 





















03 .2 



3,000 


+ 


9 


+ 


4,000 


— 


9 — 





2,500 


— 


? — 


— 


500 


— 


9 





200 


— 


9 — 


















+ 













u 






s 






& 






p. 




a 


& « 


at 

o3 


.2 








Sol 

go 

p. 

p. 

p 








+ 





+ 


+ 


9 






9 















































+ 


+ 



800 


— 


? 


— 




1,200 


= 


= 


= 


= 


400 


= 


? 








400 


= 


? 








1,300 














50 















160,000 


— 


= 


— 


10 


= 








52,000 


= 


— 


— 






































50 


+ 


? 


? 


300 


+ 


? 


+ 








6 





2,300 


= 


? 


+ 














300 


= 


? 


+ 


1,400 


= 


? 


+ 





















9 

<> 

6 
+ 


9 

+ 



100 

1,200 
55,000 



+ 



+ 



— o 



14,000 

30,000 

100 



30,000 



+ 


? 




— 


? 


























= 












? 

9 


9 



9 



u 

s 

o> . 
o o 

,si 

S3 



+ 
+ 



o 






+ 



— 





+ 


+ 





















































+ 








9 





+ 





+ 


-l_ 

1 











+ 


+ 











9 


+ 


9 




9 



































+ 





— 















+ 



+ 

























The signs +, — , = denote that, compared with the same group as now existing, a group 
falling in a given period was relatively more abundant, smaller, or equally developed, respect- 
ively, in the next younger period. 



6o POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

the Mesozoic, or the age of reptiles. Of its three chief divisions, 
Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic, the first mentioned and youngest 
has thus far yielded only a small number of fossil insects. During the 
Cretaceous, the flowering plants came into existence, and on this ac- 
count it may be concluded that a multitude of new conditions were 
furnished for many kinds of insect forms. The bees and various other 
honey-eaters could thus have originated. The fact that insects imme- 
diately adapted themselves to these new plants is to be seen in the few 
specimens thus far obtained; that is, in the galls and eaten places on 
the leaves of the oak, willow and Eucalyptus, etc. Other than these, 
unfortunately, but little evidence of insects has been found in the 
Cretaceous. 

On the contrary, the remains of this group preserved in Jurassic 
deposits are very large in number. These have been discovered in 
England, Spain and Eussia, but nowhere in such quantities and re- 
markable preservation as in the Jura of Franconia in northern Bavaria, 
where in previous epochs a shallow sea between coral reefs became 
filled up with the finest calcareous silt. Many of the insects which 
peopled the neighboring land found their graves in this mud. By a 
fortunate chance, after perhaps millions of years, these forms have now 
come to us, for this same hardened mud is to-day used by us as litho- 
graphic stone or paving-stone. 

Now what does this rich collection of Jurassic insects teach us? 
It shows that in that period probably an entire series of groups of 
living forms either then had no existence or were just in the process 
of evolution. As yet are found no locusts, no earwigs, termites, thrips 
and wood-lice. Of the Diptera, the only representatives are those 
which are in the minority to-day ; of the Hymenoptera, the wood-wasp, 
saw-fly and ichneumon-fly alone appear to have been present, while 
bees, ants, etc., are wanting. Some primitive forms of butterflies have 
been discovered, but these were at first erroneously regarded as cicadas. 
Grasshoppers were abundantly developed and some of them, judging 
from the structure of their legs, may have run about on the water or 
wet mud quite as water-striders, a genus of aquatic insects, do at the 
present time. Through their changed habits of living, these water 
locusts thus appear to have modified the legs no longer needed for 
jumping, and in this way the specters, or walking-sticks, may have 
finally originated. Dragon-flies, May-flies, Neuroptera and Hemiptera 
were represented in great variety, and of the last group there were 
aquatic species as well as those terrestrial ; also small cicadas. Beetles, 
too, were not wanting, although no particularly striking forms are to 
be distinguished. 

The fact that Jurassic insects were so extremely abundant clearly 
indicates a warm climate, and the school children of Bavaria would 



FOSSIL INSECTS 61 

have to provide themselves with much larger nets should the thousands 
of past generations of insects celebrate a joyous resurrection, for the 
size of these Jurassic representatives was from four to five times that 
of many forms now existing in the Danube region. 

But these fertile years were apparently preceded by others more 
barren. At least this impression is gained when we contemplate the 
swarms of insects that lie buried in a stage still lower — the Lias, or 
black Jura. The discovery of some rich localities in Switzerland, in 
Mecklenburg and in England, for instance, have yielded almost abso- 
lutely dwarf species. On the average, these forms were even smaller 
than those inhabiting the same regions to-day; truly starved species. 
In fact, at that time there were as yet no butterflies, few Hymenoptera, 
and no other striking insects. The beetles and gnats found were small 
and insignificant. On the other hand, caddice-flies and scorpion-flies 
were abundantly .represented, the latter of which now play only a 
limited part. There were also dragon-flies of moderate dimensions, 
bugs and small cicadas similar to our frog-hoppers; grasshoppers and 
locusts, and the ever-present cockroach as well. 

From the long Triassic period that stored up a large part of the 
material from which the imposing dolomite towers were subsequently 
formed, we as yet unfortunately know only some insignificant beetles 
and Neuroptera. Hence, we can turn at once to that very ancient 
period called the Paleozoic. On important but purely material 
grounds, this epoch stands very close to mankind in general, since it 
includes the most valuable coal deposits, the mining of which has 
materially aided our present studies. In and near the coal in many 
places in Europe and North America has been found a great number 
of impressions of insects whose investigation furnishes us with an 
entirely new world of forms. 

Although in the upper beds of this period no more beetles and 
Neuroptera are found, yet caddice-flies and scorpion-flies, gnats and 
locusts, too, are wanting. So much the more do the cockroaches in- 
crease ! May-flies and stone-flies were already represented, and Hem- 
iptera as well, but of a form that it is not known whether they should 
be pronounced cicadas or bugs. 

In addition we also find insects that it may not be possible to 
arrange in the established classification of living forms, although 
affinities with the latter are undoubtedly to be recognized. The deeper 
we descend into the coal period, these forms more and more increase 
in number, while modern types gradually become less and less frequent. 
It may therefore be concluded that in the Carboniferous forms the 
direct ancestors of many of the insect groups previously mentioned are 
to be sought, and hence corresponding names have been chosen for 
them: as Protodonata, the ancestors of the Odonata, or libellids; 



62 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Protorthoptera, ancestors of the Orthoptera, or locusts, etc. Nearly all 
these insects attained a considerable size; indeed, there were many the 
span of whose wings measured much more than half a meter — they 
were literally giants ! 

These forms, too, decrease in number, and at last there appears to 
us a quite distinct fauna of primitive creatures, whose structure was 
of the simplest order, and who were apparently without adaptation to 
the definite modes of life which we are accustomed to see in nearly all 
existing insects. These primitive forms we call ' Palseodictyoptera,' 
and among them it is possible to distinguish a series of different genera 
and species, all, however, having common characters and standing in 
about the same degree of relationship to existing groups. 

These palaeodictyopteres, therefore, constitute the first shoot of the 
giant tree which we have to-day in the insect world. 

As has been frequently indicated, we also see that the race of in- 
sects has by no means remained unaltered since primitive times, but 
that it has been subjected to precisely the same changes as have other 
groups of animals. And the conclusions to be drawn from these 
mutations are manifold. In the first place, they permit us to erect 
a natural system in accordance with actual descent; they permit us to 
weigh the characters accurately and to distinguish between those which 
are old and inherited and those that are recent and acquired. More- 
over, they afford us many and far-reaching conclusions regarding the 
climate and the nature of the soil in those times and regions, as well 
as the distribution of land and water, etc. Finally, by this means 
we are also enabled to penetrate a very little into the future. And 
this further shows us that eventually neither the boy with the green 
net nor the imprecating pessimist will be so very far wrong, for the 
immediate future probably belongs to the brilliantly colored insects, on 
the one hand, and, on the other, to the troublesome and offensive 
vermin, the parasites of man, animals and plants. These two extremes 
appear to us to-day in their greatest development. 



NATURE NAMES IN AMERICA 63 



NATURE NAMES IN AMERICA 

By SPENCER TROTTER 

SWARTHMOEE COLLEGE 

WHEN Adam, or the cave man, began giving names to the things 
of the earth and the things of the sky, it was probably with a 
view to a better personal acquaintance with the objects and for a ready 
means of conjuring up their images to the mind. In the same spirit a 
learned professor later defined a system of classification as a series of 
pegs to hang ideas on. If we are of a mind with Juliet as to the 
matter of calling a rose by any other name, we accept an undeniable 
fact, a scientific proposition, but we are at the same time in danger 
of losing a certain flavor and zest of life, a subtle something in our 
conscious relation to the things of this world. At least this is true of 
those of us who are highly endowed with a sense of the fitness of a 
name for the thing that it stands for. It is more than likely that the 
man or woman possessing this keen relish for a name will unhesitatingly 
repudiate the statement of Juliet, preferring rather to live in the 
delightful delusion of the name itself. It is the conjuring up the 
image of the thing, the making it a part of the inner conscious self, 
that has so much to do with the background of our happiness. How 
could it be otherwise in this age-long association of words and things? 
Our life is a life of words, and whether we see the printed word, or 
hear it spoken, it is to us one with the thing itself, and the thing itself 
is but the word materialized. 

This delight in a word for the sake of its associations, though in- 
tensely personal, is after all in a large way a matter of race history. 
What we call the ' mother tongue/ an expression that in itself suggests 
the most vital relation in human life, is the handing down of inherited 
speech; as important in its way as the transmission of blood and of 
brain cell. As the bodily substance may change under the influence 
of new environments, so a language may change under like conditions, 
and yet each will bear throughout its structure the large features of 
its ancestry. It is a matter of some interest to trace out the effects 
of the new world on the thought and speech of the early colonists and 
the incorporation of any changes thus wrought into the language of 
the people. In pursuing this inquiry I have directed my attention to 
the names imposed by the settlers on the natural features of the land 
and the more familiar living objects, such as plants, mammals and 
birds. These were obvious features in the physical environment, a 
knowledge of which was often of the first moment to the pioneer, and 



64 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

their names stand for a certain attitude of thought toward things more 
or less familiar or things entirely new and strange. 

The English stock that colonized the greater part of the Atlantic 
seaboard of North America, very early left the marks of its language 
on hill, valley and stream, and on fauna and flora. What objects it 
did not designate with old world names were called by the names known 
to the aboriginal peoples — Indian names — usually much altered pho- 
netically. In some instances names were invented directly as ex- 
pressive of some notable characteristic, and, again, some few were 
borrowed from the languages of alien settlers. A very large propor- 
tion of the names of natural objects in America are transplanted old 
world names, a fact not at all surprising when we consider the general 
similarity in topographical features and in the life forms, both plant 
and animal, of eastern North America and western Europe, notably 
England. A comparison of the forest trees of North America with 
those of western Europe shows that a large proportion of the various 
kinds are common to both sides of the Atlantic. The settlers found 
much the same aspect of woodland that they had known at home. 
There were oaks and beeches little different from those of Europe. 
The same was true of the pines, firs, spruces and larches, and of the 
birches, alders, aspens and poplars. The maple, elm, ash, plane tree, 
chestnut, walnut, cherry, hazel and dogwood were broadly recognized 
as familiar trees, though differing somewhat from their transatlantic 
representatives. The comparatively few trees that were entirely 
strange to the early colonists, as the hickory, sassafras, persimmon, 
magnolia, buckeye and tulip tree, came to be known, for the most part, 
by their aboriginal names, though much corrupted both in spelling 
and in speech. The two last named trees — the buckeye and the tulip 
— were so called, the first from the fancied resemblance of its nut to 
the eye of a deer (a true backwoodsman's comparison), and the tulip 
tree from its gorgeous blossoms. Beverley in his ' History of Vir- 
ginia ' (1705) speaks of ' the large Tulip Tree, which we call a Poplar.' 
The tree is not a poplar, but belongs with the magnolias, and the 
compound ' tulip poplar,' frequently used at the present time, is an 
unfortunate misnomer. The general similarity of the forests of 
eastern North America and western Europe is the result of certain 
geological conditions, among which was a once more or less continuous 
land connection between the northern portions of the two continents, 
together with a climate that allowed of a very wide dispersal of plants 
and animals. Among mammals, the bear, wolf, fox, deer, hare or 
rabbit, weasel, otter, badger, beaver, squirrel and others were recog- 
nized as being closely allied to similar old world types. But with 
the curious racoon and opossum, the colonists knew of no European 
animals in any way like them, and we find John Clayton, in 1693, 
naively writing of the racoon as ' a Species of a Monkey.' Besides 



NATURE NAMES IN AMERICA 65 

racoon and opossum the Algonquin tongue has given us such words as 
' skunk/ ' chipmunk ' and ' moose.' 

The early colonists, Puritan and Cavalier alike, were in the main 
English yeomen. They came not from the crowded centers, but from 
the rural districts, and it matters little from what district they came, 
all had been in touch with nature in England, and planted deep in 
their hearts was the love of fields and woods. This was not often 
expressed, it was too deep-seated a sentiment, but we see its workings 
in many an old chronicle. It was not what in the modern sense might 
be termed poetic, though there were undoubted poets among them. 
It was rather the feeling that an unlettered countryman has — a certain 
inexpressible love for the soil and the things thereof. The English 
emigrant to America was too much a part of his surroundings to see 
nature from the poet's point of view. The modern esthetic cult — the 
love of the beautiful — was not a portion of his mental equipment. 
He had the inquisitive and acquisitive qualities of mind, the interest 
in things for the sake of knowing about them, the attitude of the 
curious, and, above all, an interest in the practical uses of natural 
products. With this attitude of mind toward nature he set foot upon 
the shores of the new world. The surroundings that he had left are 
best pictured in the rural England of Shakespeare's and of Milton's 
time. The richly green meadow pastures watered by abundant 
streams, along the banks of which "Walton and his brother anglers 
loved to loiter in the shade of broad-spreading trees; the rolling up- 
lands and lines of low hills; the deeply ploughed fields and scattered 
masses of woodland, with here and there a church spire peeping above 
them; the hedge-rows blossoming with wild flowers and haunted by 
innumerable song birds; ancient, ivy-mantled towers and drowsy ham- 
lets, with noisy flocks of rooks and daws — these were the elements in 
a landscape enveloped in the soft atmosphere of an English sky, and 
with all the endeared associations of home, that the emigrant carried 
in his mind and heart to x\merica. Little wonder that he sought in 
his new surroundings for something to remind him of this old home. 
The forbidding, untrodden wilderness hemmed him in on every side. 
The puritan found a rugged land and a harsh climate; the cavalier, a 
more generous display of nature; but each had to wrest wide areas 
from the wilderness before the landscape could become in any sense 
domestic. As this domestication of the land went on, the colonists 
found birds coming about their dwellings, building nests in their 
gardens and in the shelter of their barns, and they began taking note 
of many of the wild plants that grew in their neighborhood. By the 
time some of the earlier accounts were written, the settlers had already 
made the acquaintance of a number of the more familiar kinds and 
had given them names. It was the England of Elizabeth that was 
transplanted in Xew England and Virginia, and a considerable body 



66 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

of old world folk-lore was a part of this transplanting much of which 
has come down to us in the names of plants and in the various other 
forms of speech. Garden-craft and the ' art of simpling ' was a part 
of every housewife's knowledge, and plants were diligently sought for 
their healing virtues. Knowledge of this kind was also to some extent 
gained from the Indian inhabitants. In all the earlier descriptions 
of the new world such objects had a prominent place, together with 
the character of the land and aboriginal peoples and the advantages 
for settlement. One can see in these accounts the evident striving 
of the European mind to find suitable names and to describe an object 
by its likeness to familiar objects at home. 

The few records that we have of the impressions of the earlier 
colonists are scattered through old journals, letters and histories of 
travel, and the references to plants and animals are often exceedingly 
obscure as to the species indicated. The question of the origin of 
names is at best recondite. Names are part of the folk-lore of peoples ; 
they came into existence far back in a dim past, long before the period 
of written history. When we do find them gathered in ancient vocabu- 
laries, as in the one of Aelfric (955-1020 a.d.), we may be sure that 
they were even then venerable with age. The new world has added 
comparatively little to the stock of old world nomenclature. More 
often an old name has been given to an entirely different thing from 
the one that it originally stood for, and has been twisted into a new 
meaning with new associations. Thus the word creek originally meant 
the tidal estuary of a small river, a place where vessels might find 
harbor, and it is so used throughout Great Britain to-day. In certain 
parts of the United States, notably along the middle and southern 
Atlantic seaboard, the word has been extended to the small tributary 
of a river throughout its entire course. In England these little inland 
streams are called ' brooks,' which is clearly their rightful name — 
shallow water-courses with much tumbling and bickering over stony 
places. Milton very clearly distinguishes between the two where in 

' Paradise Eegained ' 

Freshet or purling brook, 

may be contrasted with the lines in ' Paradise Lost ' 

Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay, 
Both are here pictured with their characteristic associations, the one 
as an upland stream, the other as a tidal inlet. In the Bible the word 
' creek ' is used with perfect clearness as to its meaning in the descrip- 
tion of Paul's shipwreck — " And when it was day, they knew not the 
land : but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into which they 
were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship." Here we have 
the idea of a harbor in the use of the word. It is possible, I think, to 
see how our brooks have come to be called ' creeks ' when we reflect 
that south of New England the large rivers have many smaller streams 



NATURE NAMES IN AMERICA 67 

emptying into their tidal waters. The mouths of these are often deep 
enough to make a shelter for vessels, and they were undoubtedly so 
used by the early settlers. Hence the term ' creek ' and its extension 
to the entire stream and to other similar streams far inland through- 
out a wide extent of country. 

In portions of the middle Atlantic region the word ' cripple ' was 
formerly used for dense, low-lying thickets, especially in wet ground. 
As a boy I occasionally heard it applied in this way, and it is quoted 
by Murray as occurring in the Penn-Logan Correspondence (1705). 
None of the dictionaries, however, attempt to trace it back to any 
dialectic source, nor is it given, with like meaning, in the vocabularies 
of provincial English. In the dialect of east England ' creeple ' means 
to compress or squeeze, which might suggest the notion of a thicket. 
But words were not coined by the early settlers through mere sug- 
gestion; they had an ample supply for every-day use. This word 
' cripple,' from its very local character, is undoubtedly a corruption of 
the Dutch word ' kreupelbosch,' signifying ' underwood,' the Anglicized 
form having been shortened by dropping the terminal ' bosch,' which 
means a wood or forest, and is allied to our now obsolete words, bosky 
and boscage. ' Kreupel ' is an adjective meaning lame and suggests 
a creeping or halting mode of progression as in the common use of the 
English word. One who toils painfully through thickets with much 
inward, if not with outward, cursings will appreciate this most ex- 
pressive word borrowed by our English settlers from their Dutch neigh- 
bors on the Hudson. 

Swamp is more generally used in the United States than in Eng- 
land. It does not occur in the writings of either Shakespeare or Mil- 
ton, though some of the minor poets make use of it and it is frequently 
found in the early descriptions of the colonies. The word implies wet, 
boggy ground in woods, with rank undergrowth, and is eminently 
characteristic of the wilder conditions of this country as compared 
with the more highly cultivated lands of Europe. The settlers, in 
this instance, had a keen sense of the fitness of the name. They early 
distinguished the treeless stretches of salt grass along the seacoast and 
river estuaries by the word marsh. Fen rarely if ever finds its way 
into American speech and writings, except when used in a poetical 
sense, as in Longfellow's ' fens of the Dismal Swamp.' Swale appears 
to have two meanings, a shady spot and a low rise of land. In pro- 
vincial dialects it means both a vale and a shady place and in North- 
amptonshire e a gentle rising in the ground.' In the western United 
States it refers to a boggy depression in a generally level stretch of 
country, and as a local word in New England it signifies an interval 
(intervale) or hollow, an umbrageous spot — the haunt of woodcock 
and other wild folk. Valley has replaced the older ' vale,' which now 
is found only in the poets' verse, and ' dale ' has likewise suffered a 



68 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

decadence save in the northern counties of England. Both vale and 
dale, however, survive as the terminations of many place-names in 
England and the United States. Valley seems to be equivalent to 
the lowland along a river's course, while vale and dale have to do with 
smaller streams, or more often with woodland hollows. In the fol- 
lowing passage there is evidently this view in the writer's mind: 

The Land higher up the Rivers throughout the whole country, is generally 
a level Ground, with shallow Vallies, full of Streams and pleasant Springs of 
clear water, having interspers'd here and there among the large Levels, some 
small Hills, and extensive Vales. ( Beverley's ' Virginia.' ) 

In the south, and to some extent in the western states, the word 
' branch ' is widely used for brook. Beverley, in his account of Vir- 
ginia, speaks of ' Gravelly Branches of Chrystal Streams.' Freshet, now 
synonymous with the overflow or flooding of a stream, was formerly 
used in the same sense as brook, as in the line of Milton above quoted. 
The term is said to be locally in use in Maryland to-day. Once when 
fishing along a small stream in southern Nova Scotia, a young lad 
who accompanied me remarked that it was ' most too low a freshet for 
good fishing.' This was a new meaning of the word to one who always 
had associated it with floods, but it was without doubt a survival, in a 
slightly altered form, of its original sense. The Anglo-Saxon Fersc, 
from which the modern English ' fresh ' is derived, meant ' on the 
move/ and was originally applied to ' running ' or ' fresh ' water. 
Run, synonymous with brook, is a survival in America of ' rine,' 
' rindel ' and c runnel,' of old English dialects. 

The word 'rabbit' perpetuates a surprising want of observation on 
the part of those who first gave this name to the American species. 
The so-called ' rabbits ' of this country are hares, not rabbits. Yet one 
would argue himself unknown who was pedantic enough to speak of 
hare-shooting before the ' great unwashed democracy of America.' The 
true rabbit is an old world species, makes burrows for its habitations, 
and brings forth helpless, naked young, as every boy knows who has 
kept tame rabbits. The wild ' cotton-tail ' of this country, and all its 
kin, never burrow, but make a ' form ' like the true hares of Europe, 
and the young are lively, well furred little creatures from the moment 
of birth. 

America has lost some pleasing words which the English heart still 
holds dear through many delightful associations. Copse and coppice 
are thus lost to us on this side of the Atlantic. I feel sure that many 
who live their lives in literature would be glad to call some beloved 
patch of underwoods a ' coppice,' just for the sake of literary associa- 
tions. One can do so to himself if he likes, but it is best to say 
e thicket' to the world at large. And thicket is an old word and a 
good one too, even when shortened to i thick/ as in provincial English. 
It savors of wilder places than coppice, which refers to underwoods that 
are annually cut for fuel and which put out fresh shoots each year, 



NATURE NAMES IN AMERICA 69 

while thicket has about it more of the delightful abandon of nature. 
We are not alone in this matter of lost words in the common speech. 
In England, as well as in America, the word glade has passed from 
every-day speech, and more 's the pity, for it is a charming word when 
associated with its real meaning of an open, sun-lit space in the woods, 
a place of gladness in the midst of gloom. 

The varied features of the American wilderness — swamp and creek, 
hill, dale and river valley, and over all the forest of a primeval world 
with its wild life untouched by any hand save that of nature — these 
waited the coming of a people that would give them, by name and 
word, a place and part in another world, a world of literature. A large 
measure of man's curiosity concerning the things of his environment 
has been directed to finding out the nature and virtues of the divers 
kinds of plants that seemed to grow mainly for his use and delectation. 
This plant lore antedates the oldest written history. From the very 
beginning it has been a part of man's self in the food question and in 
the healing of bodily ills. The greater number of our wild herbs and 
trees, as well as the long domesticated varieties, received their names 
in a time so long past that only the names themselves can reveal their 
origin. Here is history that outdoes Homer and Herodotus and all the 
writings of the ancients. In the words of Prior, the author of British 
Plant Names, we are led, in thinking over these names, " to recall the 
times from which they date, to picture to ourselves the living figures of 
our ancestors, to hear them speaking their obsolete dialect, and almost 
to make the weeds that shadow their grave tell more than their tomb- 
stone of its sleeping inhabitants." 

The early colonists found many plants in the new world of kinds 
with which they were more or less familiar. Hence we find a predom- 
inance of European names in our American flora. Aside from this, 
many old world species began shortly to make their appearance in 
America and soon became naturalized on American soil. It is a matter 
of some interest to run through a Gray's ' Manual ' and note how many 
of the species are naturalized from Europe. The origins of a large 
number of our English plant names are involved in a curious attitude 
of the medieval mind toward the productions of nature. These were 
regarded as presenting by their forms, colors, or other properties, tokens 
of the Divine will for the benefit of sinful man. This remarkable idea 
was embodied in what was known as the doctrine of signatures, and is 
thus set forth by William Coles in a quaint old work entitled the ' Art 
of Simpling.' 

Through Sin and Sathan have plunged Mankinde into an Ocean of In- 
firmities, yet the Mercy of God which is over all his workes, maketh Grasse to 
grow upon the Mountains, and Herbes for the use of Men, and hath not only 
stamped upon them a distinct forme, but also given them particular Signatures, 
whereby a Man may read, even in legible characters, the use of them. 

A name that is dear to us as a welcome of the spring — hepatica — 



7o POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

came through this curious belief in signatures. Its three-lobed leaves 
were supposed to bear some resemblance to the lobes of the liver ; hence, 
according to the doctrine of signatures, the plant must possess virtues 
that would heal the manifold complaints of that organ. Whitlow grass, 
the Draba verna of the botanist, was thought to be good for the whitlow 
or felon. Bloodroot, because of its red juice, could cure the bloody flux. 
Dandelion, dent de Icon, was so called, according to Prior, by one 
Meyster Wilhelmus, a surgeon, as set forth in the Ortus Sanitatis of 
1486, from its wonderful virtue in the curing of disease, likening it 
to a lion's tooth. Saxifrage, comfrey, birthwort, eyebright, self-heal 
or heal-all, St. John's-wort, sanicle and a host of other more or less 
familiar wild flowers, each bore some token of its use in the healing of 
various diseases. 1 

There were many plants, however, that were named for other reasons 
than that of signature, plants that were not reckoned in the art of 
simpling. The daisy was the ' eye of day ' — daeges-eage — of the old 
Anglo-Saxons, but the daisy that we know in America — the pest of 
the farmer and the delight of the wayfarer — is not the daisy of Chaucer 
and of Shakespeare. It is the great or ox-eye daisy, a plant of a differ- 
ent genus. Why the ' wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r ' of Britain's 
fields never gained a foot-hold in this country, while the great, white 
ox-eye has become naturalized as our American daisy, is one of those 
questions which the student of distribution has to solve. If we can 
not have the poet's flower itself we must at least have the name; that 
is the privilege of our inheritance. It matters little if we give the 
name to another, even though it be a 'pernicious weed'; the name, 
aside from the intrinsic beauty of the flower, endows it with a charm 
that can never fade. Our eastern buttercups are mainly naturalized 
species. The one that is truly indigenous — the early crowfoot (Ranun- 
culus fascicularis) — grows on rocky hillsides and in open woods, not 
in fields and meadows. There is little that touches the fancy in either 
'butter' or 'cup,' but join the two in one word and you have a picture 
of green pastures sprinkled with gold. The name is an old one. It 
appears in early English speech, and some authorities would derive it 
from ' button-cop,' literally ' button-head,' allied to the French bouton 
d'or. 'Butter-cup,' however, has survived, possibly by virtue of its 
golden chalice, and the name must always be associated with childhood 
and with spring — with delectable places in the heyday of life. King's- 
cups and gold-cups are other old names, and cuckoo-buds was still 
another epithet given to these flowers, for we find it in old dialects and 
in poetry — 

1 This same religious significance is found in the term ' lady,' or ' ladies,' 
applied to many plants both in England and America as a corruption of ' Our 
Lady,' reference being to the Virgin Mary. From a more remote source, in 
the old pagan mythology, ' Venus ' has survived in certain of our plant names — 
as in Venus slipper (Cypripedium) , Venus comb, Venus looking-glass, etc. 



NATURE NAMES IN AMERICA n 

And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue, 
Do paint the meadows with delight, 

Shakespeare, however, never once mentions ' buttercup ' and we are left 
to infer the fact that it was buttercups that he had in mind, for it is 
given as such in old vocabularies. Cuckoo-bud is a charming name, and 
in England is suggestive of the time of year when the cuckoo begins to 
sing. But, alas, our American cuckoo is a dismal failure as a vocalist, 
though his morals are unimpeachable, and we have no good reason for 
calling flowers after him. 2 

A number of familiar plant names occur in the writings of the old 
herbalists, as in Gerarde's Herbal (1597), and in Parkinson's Paradisi 
In Sole (1629), which contains 'The Garden of Pleasant Flowers.' 
Here we find such names as crowfoot, toad-flax, snapdragon, columbine, 
dittany, golden-rod, dog's-tooth violet and many more that sound pleas- 
antly of wayside places. A large class of names are adoptions, applied 
to plants more or less different from those that bore the original names 
in England. Thus 'wake robin,' given locally in Great Britain to a 
species of arum, has been transferred in America to the species of 
Trillium. ' Jack-in-the-box,' a local name of the English arum, appears 
in America as ' jack-in-the-pulpit,' bestowed upon a closely related 
plant. Name after name of familiar American herbs and trees may 
thus be traced back to the provincial speech of England. 3 It might 
even be possible to trace certain of the settlers back to the district in 
England from which they emigrated by the local names which they 
gave to certain plants in America. This at least offers an inviting field 
for the student of folk-lore. 

Of the names that are purely American in origin we have a few well- 
known examples that have been derived from the Indian peoples. 
Puccoon seems to have been a general name for plants that furnished 
a juice used by the natives for dyeing and for decorating their bodies. 
Clayton in the 'Flora Virginica' (1739) thus designates the blood- 
root (Sanguinaria) , and it is the common name of several species of 
gromwell (Lithospermum) which yield a yellowish juice, of the yellow- 
root (Hydrastis), and also of the poke- weed (Phytolacca) the berries 
of which stain a deep purple. The word ' poke ' is probably a corrup- 

2 A great variety of English wild flowers have been called after the cuckoo, 
but few if any have survived in American speech. The cuckoo's name appears 
not only among plants, but in numerous other objects and customs as a sur- 
vival of old English rural life. Thus, the term ' cuckoo-ale ' which is found in 
provincial dialects, is ' ale drank to welcome the cuckoo's return.' " A singular 
custom," acccrding to Wright, " prevailed not long ago in Shropshire, that as 
soon as the first cuckoo had been heard, all the laboring classes left work, and 
assembled to drink what is called the cuckoo ale." The sweet influence of the 
hedge-row was evidently close to the heart of these simple country folk. 

3 Dogwood, for example, is a name having no reference to the animal, but 
is derived from the old English dagge — a skewer, the wood having been used by 
butchers for this purpose. Witch-hazel has nothing whatever to do with 
witches, notwithstanding its repixted powers in divination, but is borrowed 
from the wych-elm, the wood of that tree having been used in making chests 
called ' wyches.' (Prior.) 



72 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

tion of the original ' puccoon,' as suggested by Bartlett. ' Hickory ' is 
the Anglicized ending of the Algonquin word powcohicora which meant 
a dish compounded of the kernel of the hickory nut, without reference 
to the tree itself. Persimmon, sassafras, papaw, catalpa, pipsissewa, 
pecan, chinquapin, cohosh, maracock (passion flower), kinnikinnik, 
and others are all more or less garbled forms of aboriginal names. 
Certain species became known by names suggested from their early 
association with certain uses or from various peculiarities and proper- 
ties. Rattlesnake-root and rattlesnake-plantain were greatly esteemed 
by the native peoples as antidotes for the poison of the reptile. A 
number of different plants bear the name of 'snake-root/ all of them 
with supposed virtues in curing the bites of serpents. One of them, 
the Virginia snake-root (Aristolochia Serpentaria), figures in Gerarde's 
' Herbal.' " There's the Snake-Root," says Beverley, " so much admired 
in England for a Cordial, and for being a great Antidote in all Pesti- 
lential Distempers." A ' swamp-root ' was very early used by the 
settlers in Virginia for the fever and ague, and the virtues of some 
plant bearing this name are still exploited, at least in the advertisements 
of quack doctors. The old chroniclers of America were profound be- 
lievers in ' simples,' and the early accounts of the country set forth, 
at considerable length, the medicinal value of various plants. Josselyn, 
in ' New England's Rarities Discovered,' is a mine of information in 
this respect. Uses, other than medicinal, have given rise to certain 
local names. The candle-berry tree — the sweet bay or myrtle of Caro- 
lina (Myrica) — was so called from the use of its wax-like berries in the 
making of candles by the settlers. " If an Accident puts a Candle out, 
it yields a pleasant Fragrancy to all that are in the Room; insomuch, 
that nice People often put them out, on purpose to have the Incense 
of the expiring Snuff." 

Such names as squaw-root, papoose root, Seneca snake-root, bow- 
man's root, Osage orange, arrowwood, Indian turnip, and the like, 
have a decided aboriginal flavor and probably hold a story quite as 
fascinating as any in the Anglo Saxon lineage. Dim pictures of the 
life of this vanished people will rise before the mind with many of 
these plant names. The beautiful native orchids of the genus Cypri- 
pedium that grow in remote woodland places, are called by their Indian 
name of ' moccasin flower ' quite as often as by that which allies them 
to the old world history of plants and men. In Gray's Manual there 
is a short sentence that to me has a peculiar and indefinable charm, 
where wild tobacco is spoken of as occurring in ' old fields from New 
York westward and southward: a relic of cultivation by the Indians.' 
What a picture in this brief statement of wigwams in the ancient woods, 
or in sun-lit clearings, with Indian women hoeing among their maize, 
squashes, and tobacco ! 

The effort of the early colonists to give familiar titles to the objects 



NATURE NAMES IN AMERICA 73 

which they found in their new home is apparent in the vernacular names 
bestowed upon a number of our native birds. It was most natural that 
a bird so well known and so generally beloved as the English robin- 
redbreast should find a namesake in America, even though very different 
in habits and appearance. When the engaging birds with russet breasts 
came about the New England settlements in early spring, and cheerful 
pipings sounded through the clearings, ' robin ' became a term of wel- 
come and endearment, In some early notices of the bird the entire 
old world name of robin-redbreast was given. ' Daw ' was an early 
name given to the crow blackbird or purple grackle by the settlers in 
the Middle Colonies and in Virginia. Though but distantly related 
to the jackdaw of England, this grackle 4 undoubtedly suggested the 
name from its habit of gathering in colonies about dwellings, where 
in the tops of tall pines and other shade trees it builds bulky nests. 
The jackdaw frequents belfrys and towers, but our blackbird has more 
of the rook in its nature, although a very different bird both in size 
and general appearance. The flocking of these grackles about the 
grounds of country houses and the noise of their vernal clatter is a 
welcome sign of returning spring. It savors of old homesteads in 
cultivated lands and suggests ancestral holdings, like the rooks in an 
English spinney or the daws in castle towers. In this vein of thought 
Lowell says ' they are the best substitute we have for rooks.' ' Black- 
bird ' could only have been suggested by the generally dark color of the 
bird seen at a distance and in certain lights. There is nothing about 
our grackle that is in any way like the English blackbird. 

A name is frequently the symbol of some striking characteristic as 
of color, or peculiarity of voice. Bluebird, redbird, yellow warbler, 
goldfinch and many others are full of color suggestion, while cat- 
bird, chat, phcebe, bobolink, towhee, song sparrow, and the like, appeal 
to the auditory sense. The bluebird, the nearest we have in this 
country to the English robin-redbreast and quite as lovable a bird in 
its way, has found a place in literature as it has in the hearts of all 
true lovers of the countryside. Alexander Wilson, poet and ornitholo- 
gist, but first of all a poet, felt the charm of this bird when he immor- 
talized its name in sympathetic prose and verse. The cardinal grosbeak 
was known as e redbird ' to the Virginia settlers, and, later, when much 
prized in London as a cage bird, its mellow, whistling notes won for it 
the title of ' Virginia nightingale.' ' Cardinal ' has without doubt 
come into our language through the French of Louisiana, and possibly 
also, from the West Indies. The final 'grosbeak' is little used in 
general talk. I have lately heard some persons speak of this bird as the 

4 We are indebted to science for this word ' grackle ' which is an Anglicized 
form of the Latin Gracula — a jack daw, a proof that even the scientific mind 
was biased in favor of recognizing the distant relationship. The black bird of 
England is a thrush — the ouzel cock or merle of the old English poets. 



74 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

' Kentucky Cardinal/ an illustration of the influence of literature in 
idealizing a thing and making it a part of one's emotional assets. 

We have nothing in America that quite takes the place of the Eng- 
lish skylark and the nightingale. The mockingbird, the thrasher, the 
bobolink, the wood thrush, the hermit thrush, and the veery are so 
entirely different in their songs and their surroundings that comparison 
of any one of them with either of the foreign birds is impossible. Why 
our great stalking meadow lark ever became a ' lark,' and not a ' starl- 
ing ' as it should be called, is hard to see, unless its liquid spring notes 
and its nesting in fields appealed to the early settlers in lieu of any 
other bird better fitted to bear this glorious name. It seems to be a 
clear case of name transfer for the sake of the name itself. The cat- 
bird is damned by such a title. His summer mewings have played an 
ugly trick on him, for he is a songster of no mean ability. William 
Bartram quaintly speaks of his endeavors at imitation, ' even in rehears- 
ing the songs, which he attentively listens to, from the shepherdess and 
rural swain ' — words that call up an Arcadian scene that even Theoc- 
ritus might have loved; a haunt of Pan in days before the smoke and 
noise of modern industry sullied the sweet air of fields and groves. 

The reader may ask — Why all this pother about names? A name 
is a name, and, though its history be of passing interest, what need 
further to talk about it? If literature is the reflection of a people's 
life the words which give it form and substance are a part of the life 
itself, at least of its emotional and intellectual reactions. Our appre- 
ciation of nature comes so largely through literature, and literature has 
so greatly extended our sympathy toward things natural, both animate 
and inanimate, that in this world of words we may be said almost to 
live and move and have our being. This is the plea that is made for 
the interest in a name; for the better understanding of the really vital 
part that it plays in human life. 

The past fifty years have seen the growth in America of a remark- 
able interest in nature, not only in its scientific aspects, but in its 
esthetic appeal as well. The modern cult of l nature study ' is an ex- 
pression of this interest and as such is altogether salutary. How much 
this attitude toward nature is fostered by literature is apparent in the 
mass of matter that has been and is being written upon the subject. 
Where one person has reached this state of mind through a sort of 
primitive instinct that takes him out into direct contact with nature, 
fifty persons have been led into the same happy state through some 
appreciative writer like Gilbert White, Richard Jefferies, Thoreau or 
Burroughs. A truly good book, one that makes its appeal to the heart, 
calls us into the open where the whole man is refreshed by nature at 
first hand. In order to read understanding^ and sympathetically, one 
must know the real thing itself, must have had his senses quickened 
by the thousand influences of wood and field. Then a name will have 



NATURE NAMES IN AMERICA 75 

a meaning to the reader that it never before possessed, and its history 
will have a meaning when he finds it in the writings of the old world 
authors. Those of us who are in the middle years of life can remember 
when our juvenile nature literature was almost entirely English and 
we became more intimately acquainted with the robin-redbreast and 
the nightingale, the skylark and the thrush, than we did with our own 
native birds, whose names were often quite unknown to us. The 
writings of the English poets and authors from Chaucer down are full 
of allusions to birds and flowers with which most of us have grown 
familiar by name only. Shelley's ' Skylark ' and Keats' ' Ode to a 
Nightingale ' have made the names living realities to many who have 
never seen or heard these birds. There are sweet singers in our own 
country that must take a place in literature, and their names will be 
doubly dear to the heart through an intimate acquaintance with the 
birds themselves. One of the most sympathetic of our modern writers 
has voiced this thought in an exquisite bit of verse — ' The Wood-notes 
of the Veery.' 

If two different birds, or two different flowers, in England and 
America bear the same name, there is no need to cavil, only to recognize 
the fact that there is a difference. This extension of the name is in 
itself a source of great interest; it helps to link us to the life and 
literature of past generations, and in so doing to develop an intelligent 
and sympathetic understanding. One might have in mind our crow 
blackbird when reading Tennyson's poem — ' The Blackbird,' and fail to 
see its truth and beauty, simply by not knowing that there are several 
birds of this name. 

A golden bill! the silver tongue, 

Cold February loved, is dry: 

Plenty corrupts the melody 
That made thee famous once, when young: 

No one who knew our blackbird could ever apply this description to 
him. It more aptly applies to the robin than to any other bird in this 
country. The golden bill; the silver tongue of our early spring; the 
corruption of melody when gorged with autumnal fruit; all these are 
thrush attributes and apply with equal pertinence to both species. 

An appreciation of the rightful meaning of a name will go far 
toward making a true mind picture of the thing itself. A poet like 
Tennyson was a keen observer of nature, to the slightest detail, and a 
reader gains the greater pleasure when he divines this quality in the 1 
poet's verse. This is not a scientific attitude of mind, not the attitude 
of a carping critic, but the realization of a certain beauty because of 
a certain truth — and truth is after all the one thing needful, the only 
thing that satisfies the soul. 



76 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



COMPABATIVE PSYCHOLOGY 

By Pkofrssor C. JUDSON HERR1CK 

DENISON UNIVERSITY 

/~] OMPAEATIVE psychology has arrived. We have had our Des- 
^-^ cartes and our psychic epiphenomenalists ; and their descendants, 
the vital mechanicians, are still with us. And no Luther has arisen 
to shatter at a stroke their gods (of tin and other artificers' materials) 
and proclaim the reformation of psychology in a single revolutionary 
coup. No Darwin has struck off a hypothesis of psychogenesis full 
grown and puissant to drive its decadent rivals from the field by virtue 
of its own all-assimilating vitality. But the leaven of Darwinism 
has been slowly permeating, even into the dusty meal bins of specula- 
tive psychology. In spite of fervid anathemas from the citadels of 
the categorical intuitionalists, the steady growth of genetic ideas has 
by natural process begun to corrode the very foundations of these 
strongholds of conservatism ; for have we not already begun our natural 
history of the intuitions and their genesis ? 

It has been pointed out as a most hopeful sign that this new 
psychology (unlike that sometimes falsely so called) does not come 
bearing as its ikons a glittering array of brass instruments of precision 
and tomes of statistics; but, like the kingdom of Heaven, it cometh 
not with observation, as a change of mental attitude among both 
psychologists and naturalists. 

There is apparently no general recognition of the revolutionary 
character of this feature, which is implicit in many movements now 
current in science and philosophy — movements bearing as diverse labels 
in the philosophical vernacular of the day as ' experimental evolution/ 
'genetic psychology' (in a score of mutually antagonistic forms), 
' pragmatism,' ' functional philosophy,' ' paidology,' ' dynamic monism/ 
etc., etc. So far as the genetic element in these systems is true, it is 
destined to outlive its ephemeral and sometimes bizarre setting, and 
the day when we shall have a generally accepted doctrine of psycho- 
genesis and psychic evolution is certainly not far off, though it would 
be folly to assert that this day has yet dawned. 

One of the most valuable features of the remarkable book by 
Stanley Hall on the psychology of adolescence is the emphasis which 
he places on the study of the past of mind as a corrective to the 
morbid speculations on its future which comprise the larger part of 



COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY 77 

the current doctrines of the soul. The ages of psychic evolution 
through which we have passed have not only cast their shadows down 
the ranks of time to our own day, but their life is now coursing in 
our mental pulses as literally as in our corporeal. He goes on to say : 

The best and only key to truly explain mind in man is in the animals he 
has sprung from and in his own infancy which so faintly recapitulates them; 
for about every property of the human mind is found in animal mind, as those 
of higher animals are found in the powers of the lower. . . . The conscious 
adult person is not a monad reflecting the universe, but a fragment broken off 
and detached from the great world of soul, always maimed, defined by special 
limitations, like, yet different from, all others, with some incommensurability 
parting it off as something unique, well fitted to illustrate some aspects and 
hopelessly unable to exemplify or even know other regions in the cosmos of 
soul. 

But the trouble is that as soon as a professional philosopher ap- 
proaches the problems of the cosmic past of mind he is clapped auto- 
matically into some metaphysical pigeon hole, whose rigid and often 
misshapen walls determine that every effort which he puts forth must 
be molded by past tradition. The very assimilation of the newer data 
of science, which are the philosopher's meat and drink, involves their 
incorporation into a metaphysical system already thoroughly organized, 
and so we read our metaphysics backward through the cosmic process. 

The naturalists, accordingly, are calling for a new Naturphilosophie 
which shall be ' anti-metaphysical/ and yet every new such attempt on 
their own part seems to present more serious metaphysical vices than 
the preceding. It is obvious that the hope for an anti-metaphysical 
philosophy is vain, for human philosophic systems flow into meta- 
physics as the sparks fly upward. 

But what shall be the foundation of that metaphysic and the man- 
ner of its building is the naturalist's own problem. Shall it be an 
a priori system based upon ancient and mediaeval dialectic or shall it 
be an organic growth whose roots sink deep into the soil of scientific 
observation and induction ? This is a very burning question ; for while 
we can have a practically efficient hod-man type of science without 
metaphysics, there can be no hope of a future for any metaphysics 
which is not built up and sustained by the progress of science. 

This, of course, can only mean that our metaphysics can not be 
bound down by the rigid categories of formal logic (which is but a 
crystallization of the past workings of the human mind) ; it too must 
be alive with the lusty vigor of active growth. That such a meta- 
physic is not unattainable is evident. Certain present tendencies are 
nothing less than revolutionary in the direction of a really vital meta- 
physic, and not a few men of science are making their contributions to 
the same end. 

And herein lies the great hope and promise of an immediate fruit- 



78 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

fulness in the field of comparative psychology. For the first time in 
the history of thought, we have both a scientific and a philosophic 
public sentiment ripe for a serious attempt at a correlation in scientific 
channels of mental and physical evolution and of mind and body in 
the broader view. 

But how imperfectly are we able to enter into the inner life of 
even the higher animals whose minds are most like our own ! And 
yet, who knows how many of the powerful, though subconscious springs 
of our own impulse and motive may lie concealed in inherited vestiges 
of long- vanished and far more remote ancestral mental powers? Who 
knows what may be the mental life of a catfish, whose barbels and 
whole outer body surface are covered with organs of taste and whose 
gustatory nerves and centers are the biggest in the brain, or of a 
shark which has an elaborate system of sense organs (the lateral line 
canals), totally unknown to our own experience, which reach the ex- 
treme dimensions of the body and serve as a sort of intermediary appa- 
ratus between the organs of touch and the labyrinth of the ear, which 
is likewise highly developed, though the fish is apparently nearly or 
quite deaf? 

The first task of comparative psychology, then, is to define as 
accurately as we may with the imperfect means at command the sensori- 
motor life of the whole range of lower organisms. And this task is 
fortunately not only approachable, but intrinsically attractive to every 
lover of nature. The study in field and laboratory of the sensory life 
of animals, while not all of comparative psychology, is a necessary in- 
troduction to its larger correlations and is receiving a rapidly increas- 
ing attention by naturalists of all schools; for the development of a 
true comparative psychology is, as we have seen, bound up with some 
of the greatest of the current movements in both science and philosophy. 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 



79 




I B R t 







THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 

By M. H. POINCARE 

MEMBER OF THE INSTITUTE OF FRANCE 



§ 3. Tactile Space 
1 1 THUS I know how to recognize the identity of two points, the point 
-*- occupied by A at the instant a and the point occupied by B at the 
instant /?, but only on one condition, namely, that I have not budged 
between the instants a and /?. That does not suffice for our object. 
Suppose, therefore, that I have moved in any manner in the interval 
between these two instants, how shall I know whether the point oc- 
cupied by A at the instant a is identical with the point occupied by B 
at the instant (3? I suppose that at the instant a, the object A was in 
contact with my first finger and that in the same way, at the instant /?, 
the object B touches this first finger; but at the same time, my muscular 
sense has told me that in the interval my body has moved. I have 
considered above two series of muscular sensations S and S', and I have 
said it sometimes happens that we are led to consider two such series 
S and S' as inverse one of the other, because we have often observed that 
when these two series succeed one another our primitive impressions 
are reestablished. 

If then my muscular sense tells me that I have moved between the 
two instants a and /?, but so as to feel successively the two series of 
muscular sensations S and S' that I consider inverses, I shall still con- 
clude, just as if I had not budged, that the points occupied by A at 
the instant a and by B at the instant /? are identical, if I ascertain that 
my first finger touches A at the instant a and B at the instant /?. 

This solution is not yet completely satisfactory, as one will see. 
Let us see, in fact, how many dimensions it would make us attribute to 
space. I wish to compare the two points occupied by A and B at the 
instants a and /?, or (what amounts to the same thing since I suppose 
that my finger touches A at the instant a and B at the instant /?) I 
wish to compare the two points occupied by my finger at the two 
instants a and /?. The sole means I use for this comparison is the 
series 2 of muscular sensations which have accompanied the movements 
of my body between these two instants. The different imaginable 
series 2 form evidently a physical continuum of which the number of 
dimensions is very great. Let us agree, as I have done, not to consider 
as distinct the two series 2 and 2 -f- s -f- s', when s and s' are inverses 
one of the other in the sense above given to this word; in spite of this 



80 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

agreement, the aggregate of distinct series 2 will still form a physical 
continuum and the number of dimensions will be less but still very- 
great. 

To each of these series 2 corresponds a point of space ; to two series 
2 and 2' thus correspond two points M and M'. The means we have 
hitherto used enable us to recognize that M and M' are not distinct in 
two cases : (1) if % is identical with %' ; (2) if 2' = 2 -f- s + s '> s an( l s ' 
being inverses one of the other. If in all the other cases we should 
regard M and W as distinct, the manifold of points would have as 
many dimensions as the aggregate of distinct series 2, that is, much 
more than three. 

For those who already know geometry, the following explanation 
would be easily comprehensible. Among the imaginable series of mus- 
cular sensations, there are those which correspond to series of move- 
ments where the finger does not budge. I say that if one does not 
consider as distinct the series 2 and ~%-\- a, where the series a corre- 
sponds to movements where the finger does not budge, the aggregate 
of series will constitute a continuum of three dimensions, but that if 
one regards as distinct two series 2 and 2' unless 2' = 2 + s -\-s', s and 
s' being inverses, the aggregate of series will constitute a continuum of 
more than three dimensions. 

In fact, let there be in space a surface A, on this surface a line B, 
on this line a point M . Let C be the aggregate of all series 2. Let 
Ci be the aggregate of all the series 2, such that at the end of cor- 
responding movements the finger is found upon the surface A, and C 2 
or C 3 the aggregate of series 2 such that at the end the finger is found 
on B, or at M. It is clear, first that C x will constitute a cut which will 
divide C , that C 2 will be a cut which will divide C 1} and C 3 a cut which 
will divide C 2 . Thence it results, in accordance with our definitions, 
that if C 3 is a continuum of n dimensions, C will be a physical con- 
tinuum of n -f- 3 dimensions. 

Therefore, let 2 and 2' -f- a be two series forming part of C 3 ; for 
both, at the end of the movements, the finger is found at M ; thence 
results that at the beginning and at the end of the series a, the finger is 
at the same point M . This series a is therefore one of those which 
correspond to movements where the finger does not budge. If 2 and 
2 -f- o- are not regarded as distinct, all the series of C 3 blend into one ; 
therefore C 3 will have dimension, and C will have 3, as I wished to 
prove. If, on the contrary, I do not regard 2 and 2 + cr as blending 
(unless o- = s -f- s', s and s' being inverses), it is clear that C 3 will con- 
tain a great number of series of distinct sensations; because, without 
the finger budging, the body may take a multitude of different atti- 
tudes. Then C 3 will form a continuum and C Q will have more than 
three dimensions, and this also I wished to prove. 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 81 

We who do not yet know geometry can not reason in this way; we 
can only verify. But then a question arises; how, before knowing 
geometry, have we been led to distinguish from the others these series 
a- where the finger does not budge? It is, in fact, only after having 
made this distinction that we could be led to regard 2 and 2 -f- a as 
identical, and it is on this condition alone, as we have just seen, that 
we can arrive at space of three dimensions. 

We are led to distinguish the series o-, because it often happens that 
when we have executed the movements which correspond to these series 
o- of muscular sensations, the tactile sensations which are transmitted 
to us by the nerve of the finger that we have called the first finger, 
persist and are not altered by these movements. Experience alone tells 
us that and it alone could tell us. 

If we have distinguished the series of muscular sensations s + s' 
formed by the union of two inverse series, it is because they preserve 
the totality of our impressions ; if now we distinguish the series a, it is 
because they preserve certain of our impressions. (When I say that a 
series of muscular sensations s ' preserves ' one of our impressions A, 
I mean that we ascertain that if we feel the impression A, then the 
muscular sensations s, we still feel the impression A after these sensa- 
tions s.) 

I have said above it often happens that the series o- do not alter the 
tactile impressions felt by our first finger; I said often, I did not say 
always. This it is that we express in our ordinary language by saying 
that the tactile impressions would not be altered if the finger has not 
moved, on the condition that neither has the object A, which was in con- 
tact with this finger, moved. Before knowing geometry, we could not 
give this explanation; all we could do is to ascertain that the impres- 
sion often persists, but not always. 

But that the impression often continues is enough to make the 
series o- appear remarkable to us, to lead us to put in the same class 
the series 2 and 2 + <r, and hence not regard them as distinct. Under 
these conditions we have seen that they will engender a physical con- 
tinuum of three dimensions. 

Behold then a space of three dimensions engendered by my first 
finger. Each of my fingers will create one like it. It remains to con- 
sider how we are led to regard them as identical with visual space, as 
identical with geometric space. 

But one reflection before going further; according to the foregoing, 
we know the points of space, or more generally the final situation of 
our body, only by the series of muscular sensations revealing to us the 
movements which have carried us from a certain initial situation to this 
final situation. But it is clear that this final situation will depend, on 
the one hand, upon these movements and, on the other hand, upon the 
initial situation from which we set out. Now these movements are re- 

VOL. LXX. — 6. 



82 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

vealed to us by our muscular sensations; but nothing tells us the 
initial situation; nothing can distinguish it for us from all the other 
possible situations. This puts well in evidence the essential relativity 
of space. 

§ 4. Identity of the Different Spaces 

We are therefore led to compare the two continua C and C engen- 
dered, for instance, one by my first finger D, the other by my second 
finger D'. These two physical continua both have three dimensions. 
To each element of the continuum C, or, if you prefer, to each point of 
the first tactile space, corresponds a series of muscular sensations 2, 
which carry me from a certain initial situation to a certain final situa- 
tion. 1 Moreover, the same point of this first space will correspond to 
2 and to 2 -\- a-, if o- is a series of which we know that it does not make 
the finger D move. 

Similarly to each element of the continuum C, or to each point of 
the second tactile space, corresponds a series of sensations 2', and the 
same point will correspond to 2' and to 2' + o-', if o-' is a series which 
does not make the finger D' move. 

What makes us distinguish the various series designated o- from 
those called o-' is that the first do not alter the tactile impressions felt 
by the finger D and the second preserve those the finger D' feels. 

Now see what we ascertain: in the beginning my finger D' feels a 
sensation A' ; I make movements which produce muscular sensations S; 
my finger D feels the impression A; I make movements which produce 
a series of sensations o- ; my finger D continues to feel the impression A , 
since this is the characteristic property of the series o-; I then make 
movements which produce the series S' of muscular sensations, inverse 
to S in the sense above given to this word. I ascertain then that my 
finger D' feels anew the impression A'. (It is of course understood 
that S has been suitably chosen.) 

This means that the series s-f-ff-j-s', preserving the tactile im- 
pressions of the finger I)' , is one of the series I have called o-'. In- 
versely, if one takes any series a, s' -+- a -f- s will be one of the series 
that we call <r. 

Thus if s is suitably chosen, s -+- o- -f- s f will be a series a, and by 
making a vary in all possible ways, we shall obtain all the possible 
series a . 

Not yet knowing geometry, we limit ourselves to verifying all that, 
but here is how those who know geometry would explain the fact. In 
the beginning my finger D' is at the point M, in contact with the object 
a, which makes it feel the impression A'. I make the movements cor- 
responding to the series S; I have said that this series should be suitably 

1 In place of saying that we refer space to axes rigidly bound to our body, 
perhaps it would be better to say, in conformity to what precedes, that we refer 
it to axes rigidly bound to the initial situation of our body. 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 83 

chosen, I should so make this choice that these movements carry the 
finger D to the point originally occupied by the finger D', that is, to 
the point M; this finger D will thus be in contact with the object a, 
which will make it feel the impression A. 

I then make the movements corresponding to the series <r; in these 
movements, by hypothesis, the position of the finger D does not change, 
this finger therefore remains in contact with the object a and con- 
tinues to feel the impression A. Finally I make the movements cor- 
responding to the series 8'. As 8' is inverse to S, these movements 
carry the finger D' to the point previously occupied by the finger D, 
that is, to the point M. If, as may be supposed, the object a has not 
budged, this finger D' will be in contact with this object and will feel 
anew the impression A'. . . . Q. E. D. 

Let us see the consequences. I consider a series of muscular sensa- 
tions 2. To this series will correspond a point M of the first tactile 
space. Now take again the two series s and s', inverses of one another, 
of which we have just spoken. To the series s -f- 2 + s' will corre- 
spond a point N of the second tactile space, since to any series of 
muscular sensations corresponds, as we have said, a point, whether in 
the first space or in the second. 

I am going to consider the two points N and M, thus defined, as 
corresponding. What authorizes me so to do? For this correspond- 
ence to be admissible, it is necessary that if two points M and M r , 
corresponding in the first space to two series 2 and 2', are identical, 
so also are the two corresponding points of the second space N and N', 
that is the two points which correspond to the two series s -j- 2 + s' and 
s -f- 2' -f- s'. Now we shall see that this condition is fulfilled. 

First a remark. As 8 and S' are inverses of one another, we shall 
have 8 + S' = 0, and consequently 8 + S' + 2 = 2 + S + S' = 2, or 
again 2 + 8 + 8' + 2' = 2 + 2' ; but it does not follow that we have 
8 -f- 2 -f- S' = 2 ; because, though we have used the addition sign to 
represent the succession of our sensations, it is clear that the order of 
this succession is not indifferent: we can not, therefore, as in ordinary 
addition, invert the order of the terms; to use abridged language, our 
operations are associative, but not commutative. 

That fixed, in order that 2 and 2' should correspond to the same 
point M = M' of the first space, it is necessary and sufficient for us to 
have 2' = 2 + o-. We shall then have : 8 + 2' + 8' = 8 + 2 + a + 
8' = 8 + 2 + 8' + S + a + S'. 

But we have just ascertained that S -f- a -f- 8' was one of the series 
</. We shall therefore have : 8 + 2' + S' = 8 + 2 + 8' + a', which 
means that the series S + 2' + S' and 8 + 2 + #' correspond to the 
same point N = N' of the second space. Q. E. D. 

Our two spaces therefore correspond point for point; they can be 



84 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

i transformed ' one into the other ; they are isomorphic. How are we 
led to conclude thence that they are identical? 

Consider the two series a and S -\- <x -\- S' = a. I have said that 
often, but not always, the series o- preserves the tactile impression A 
felt by the finger D; and similarly it often happens, but not always, 
that the series </ preserves the tactile impression A' felt by the ringer 
D'. Now I ascertain that it happens very often (that is, much more 
often than what I have just called ' often ') that when the series o- has 
preserved the impression A of the finger D, the series a preserves at the 
same time the impression A' of the finger D' ; and, inversely, that if 
the first impression is altered, the second is likewise. That happens 
very often, but not always. 

We interpret this experimental fact by saying that the unknown 
object a which gives the impression A to the finger D is identical with 
the unknown object a' which gives the impression A' to the finger D'. 
And in fact when the first object moves, which the disappearance of the 
impression A tells us, the second likewise moves, since the impression 
A' disappears likewise. When the first object remains motionless, the 
second remains motionless. If these two objects are identical, as the 
first is at the point M of the first space and the second at the point N 
of the second space, these two points are identical. This is how we 
are led to regard these two spaces as identical; or better this is wbat 
we mean when we say that they are identical. 

What we have just said of the identity of the two tactile spaces 
makes unnecessary our discussing the question of the identity of tactile 
space and visual space, which could be treated in the same way. 

§ 5. Space and Empiricism 

It seems that I am about to be led to conclusions in conformity with 
empiristic ideas. I have, in fact, sought to put in evidence the role of 
experience and to analyze the experimental facts which intervene in the 
genesis of space of three dimensions. But whatever may be the im- 
portance of these facts, there is one thing we must not forget and to 
which besides I have more than once called attention. These experi- 
mental facts are often verified but not always. That evidently does 
not mean that space has often three dimensions, but not always. 

I know well that it is easy to save oneself and that, if the facts do 
not verify, it will be easily explained by saying that the exterior objects 
have moved. If experience succeeds, we say that it teaches us about 
space ; if it does not succeed, we hie to exterior objects which we accuse 
of having moved; in other words, if it does not succeed, it is given a 
fillip. 

These fillips are legitimate; I do not refuse to admit them; but 
they suffice to tell us that the properties of space are not experimental 
truths, properly so called. If we had wished to verify other laws, we 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 85 

could have succeeded also, by giving other analogous fillips. Should we 
not always have been able to justify these fillips by the same reasons? 
One could at most have said to us : ' Your fillips are doubtless legiti- 
mate, but you abuse them; why move the exterior objects so often? ' 

To sum up, experience does not prove to us that space has three 
dimensions ; it only proves to us that it is convenient to attribute three 
to it, because thus the number of fillips is reduced to a minimum. 

I will add that experience brings us into contact only with repre- 
sentative space, which is a physical continuum, never with geometric 
space, which is a mathematical continuum. At the very most it would 
appear to tell us that it is convenient to give to geometric space three 
dimensions, so that it may have as many as representative space. 

The empiric question may be put under another form. Is it im : 
possible to conceive physical phenomena, the mechanical phenomena for 
example, otherwise than in space of three dimensions ? We should thus 
have an objective experimental proof, so to speak, independent of our 
physiology, of our modes of representation. 

But it is not so ; I shall not here discuss the question completely, I 
shall confine myself to recalling the striking example given us by the 
mechanics of Hertz. You know that the great physicist did not believe 
in the existence of forces, properly so called; he supposed that visible 
material points are subjected to certain invisible bonds which join them 
to other invisible points and that it is the effect of these invisible bonds 
that we attribute to forces. 

But that is only a part of his ideas. Suppose a system formed of 
n material points, visible or not; that will give in all 3n coordinates; 
let us regard them as the coordinates of a single point in space of 3ra 
dimensions. This single point would be constrained to remain upon a 
surface (of any number of dimensions < 3n) in virtue of the bonds of 
which we have just spoken; to go on this surface from one point to 
another, it would always take the shortest way; this would be the 
single principle which would sum up all mechanics. 

Whatever should be thought of this hypothesis, whether we be allured 
by its simplicity, or repelled by its artificial character, the simple fact 
that Hertz was able to conceive it, and to regard it as more convenient 
than our habitual hypotheses, suffices to prove that our ordinary ideas, 
and, in particular, the three dimensions of space, are in no wise imposed 
upon mechanics with an invincible force. 

§ 6. Mind and Space 
Experience, therefore, has played only a single role, it has served as 
occasion. But this role was none the less very important; and I have 
thought it necessary to give it prominence. This role would have been 
useless if there existed an a priori form imposing itself upon our sen- 
sitivity, and which was space of three dimensions. 



86 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Does this form exist, or, if you choose, can we represent to our- 
selves space of more than three dimensions? And first what does this 
question mean? In the true sense of the word, it is clear that we can 
not represent to ourselves space of four, nor space of three, dimensions ; 
we can not first represent them to ourselves empty, and no more can we 
represent to ourselves an object either in space of four, or in space 
of three, dimensions : ( 1 ) Because these spaces are both infinite and we 
can not represent to ourselves a figure in space, that is, the part in the 
whole, without representing the whole, and that is impossible, because 
it is infinite; (2) because these spaces are both mathematical continua 
and we can represent to ourselves only the physical continuum; (3) 
because these spaces are both homogeneous, and the frames in which 
we enclose our sensations, being limited, can not be homogeneous. 

Thus the question put can only be understood in another manner; 
is it possible to imagine that, the results of the experiences related above 
having been different, we might have been led to attribute to space more 
than three dimensions; to imagine, for instance, that the sensation of 
accommodation might not be constantly in accord with the sensation of 
convergence of the eyes; or indeed that the experiences of which we 
have spoken in paragraph 2 and of which we express the result by 
saying ' that touch does not operate at a distance,' might have led us 
to an inverse conclusion. 

And then evidently yes that is possible. From the moment one 
imagines an experience, one imagines just by that the two contrary 
results it may give. That is possible, but that is difficult, because we 
have to overcome a multitude of associations of ideas, which are the 
fruit of a long personal experience and of the still longer experience of 
the race. Is it these associations (or at least those of them that we have 
inherited from our ancestors), which constitute this a priori form of 
which it is said that we have pure intuition ? Then I do not see why 
one should declare it refractory to analysis and should deny me the 
right of investigating its origin. 

When it is said that our sensations are ' extended ' only one thing 
can be meant, that is that they are always associated with the idea of 
certain muscular sensations, corresponding to the movements which 
enable us to reach the object which causes them, which enable us, in 
other words, to defend ourselves against it. And it is just because this 
association is useful for the defense of the organism, that it is so old 
in the history of the species and that it seems to us indestructible. 
Nevertheless, it is only an association and we can conceive that it may 
be broken; so that we may not say that sensation can not enter con- 
sciousness without entering in space, but that in fact it does not enter 
consciousness without entering in space, which means, without being 
entangled in this association. 

JSTo more can I understand one's saying that the idea of time is log- 



TEE VALUE OF SCIENCE . 87 

ically subsequent to space, since we can represent it to ourselves only 
under the form of a straight line; as well say that time is logically 
subsequent to the cultivation of the prairies, since it is usually repre- 
sented armed with a scythe. That one can not represent to himself 
simultaneously the different parts of time, goes without saying, since 
the essential character of these parts is precisely not to be simultaneous. 
That does not mean that we have not the intuition of time. So far as 
that goes, no more should we have that of space, because neither can 
we represent it, in the proper sense of the word, for the reasons 1 have 
mentioned. What we represent to ourselves under the name of straight 
is a crude image which as ill resembles the geometric straight as it 
does time itself. 

Why has it been said that every attempt to give a fourth dimension 
to space always carries this one back to one of the other three? It is 
easy to understand. Consider our muscular sensations and the ' series ' 
they may form. In consequence of numerous experiences, the ideas 
of these series are associated together in a very complex woof, our 
series are classed. Allow me, for convenience of language, to express 
my thought in a way altogether crude and even inexact by saying that 
our series of muscular sensations are classed in three classes correspond- 
ing to the three dimensions of space. Of course this classification is 
much more complicated than that, but that will suffice to make my 
reasoning understood. If I wish to imagine a fourth dimension, I 
shall suppose another series of muscular sensations, making part of a 
fourth class. But as all my muscular sensations have already been 
classed in one of the three preexistent classes, I can only represent to 
myself a series belonging to one of these three classes, so that my fourth 
dimension is carried back to one of the other three. 

What does that prove ? This : that it would have been necessary 
first to destroy the old classification and replace it by a new one in 
which the series of muscular sensations should have been distributed 
into four classes. The difficulty would have disappeared. 

It is presented sometimes under a more striking form. Suppose I 
am enclosed in a chamber between the six impassable boundaries formed 
by the four walls, the floor and the ceiling; it will be impossible for me 
to get out and to imagine my getting out. Pardon, can you not 
imagine that the door opens, or that two of these walls separate ? But 
of course, you answer, one must suppose that these walls remain im- 
movable. Yes, but it is evident that I have the right to move; and 
then the walls that we suppose absolutely at rest will be in motion 
with regard to me. Yes, but such a relative motion can not be any- 
thing; when objects are at rest, their relative motion with regard to 
any axes is that of a rigid solid; now, the apparent motions that you 
imagine are not in conformity with the laws of motion of a rigid solid. 



88 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Yes, but it is experience which has taught us the laws of motion of a 
rigid solid; nothing would prevent our imagining them different. To 
sum up, for me to imagine that I get out of my prison, I have only to 
imagine that the walls seem to open, when I move. 

I believe, therefore, that if by space is understood a mathematical 
continuum of three dimensions, were it otherwise amorphous, it is the 
mind which constructs it, but it does not construct it out of nothing; 
it needs materials and models. These materials, like these models, 
preexist within it. But there is not a single model which is imposed 
upon it; it has choice; it may choose, for instance, between space of 
four and space of three dimensions. What then is the role of experi- 
ence? It gives the indications following which the choice is made. 

Another thing: whence does space get its quantitative character? 
It comes from the role which the series of muscular sensations play 
in its genesis. These are series which may repeat themselves, and it 
is from their repetition that number comes; it is because they can 
repeat themselves indefinitely that space is infinite. And finally we 
have seen, at the end of section 3, that it is also because of this that 
space is relative. So it is repetition which has given to space its essen- 
tial characteristics; now, repetition supposes time; this is enough to 
tell that time is logically anterior to space. 

§ 7. Role of the Semicircular Canals 
I have not hitherto spoken of the role of certain organs to which 
the physiologists attribute with reason a capital importance, I mean 
the semicircular canals. Numerous experiments have sufficiently 
shown that these canals are necessary to our sense of orientation; but 
the physiologists are not entirely in accord; two opposing theories have 
been proposed, that of Mach-Delage and that of M. de Cyon. 

M. de Cyon is a physiologist who has made his name illustrious by 
important discoveries on the innervation of the heart; I can not, how- 
ever agree with his ideas on the question before us. Not being a physi- 
ologist, I hesitate to criticize the experiments he has directed against 
the adverse theory of Mach-Delage; it seems to me, however, that they 
are not convincing, because in many of them the total pressure was 
made to vary in one of the canals, while, physiologically, what varies 
is the difference between the pressures on the two extremities of the 
canal; in others the organs were subjected to profound lesions, which 
must alter their functions. 

Besides, this is not important; the experiments, if they were irre- 
proachable, might be convincing against the old theory. They would 
not be convincing for the new theory. In fact, if I have rightly under- 
stood the theory, my explaining it will be enough for one to understand 
that it is impossible to conceive of an experiment confirming it. 



THE VALVE OF SCIENCE 89 

The three pairs of canals would have as sole function to tell us that 
space has three dimensions. Japanese mice have only two pairs of 
canals; they believe, it would seem, that space has only two dimensions, 
and they manifest this opinion in the strongest way; they put them- 
selves in a circle, and, so ordered, they spin rapidly around. The 
lampreys, having only one pair of canals, believe that space has only 
one dimension, but their manifestations are less turbulent. 

It is evident that such a theory is inadmissible. The sense-organs 
are designed to tell us of changes which happen in the exterior world. 
We could not understand why the Creator should have given us organs 
destined to cry without cease : Eemember that space has three dimen- 
sions, since the number of these three dimensions is not subject to 
change. 

We must, therefore, come back to the thory of Mach-Delage. What 
the nerves of the canals can tell us is the difference of pressure on the 
two extremities of the same canal, and thereby: (1) the direction of 
the vertical with regard to three axes rigidly bound to the head; (2) 
the three components of the acceleration of translation of the center 
of gravity of the head; (3) the centrifugal forces developed by the 
rotation of the head; (4) the acceleration of the motion of rotation 
of the head. 

It follows from the experiments of M. Delage that it is this last 
indication which is much the most important; doubtless because the 
nerves are less sensible to the difference of pressure itself than to the 
brusque variations of this difference. The first three indications may 
thus be neglected. 

Knowing the acceleration of the motion of rotation of the head at 
each instant, we deduce from it, by an unconscious integration, the 
final orientation of the head, referred to a certain initial orientation 
taken as origin. The circular canals contribute, therefore, to inform 
us of the movements that we have executed, and that on the same 
ground as the muscular sensations. When, therefore, above we speak 
of the series S or of the series 2, we should say, not that these were 
series of muscular sensations alone, but that they were series at the 
same time of muscular sensations due to the semicircular canals. 
Apart from this addition, we should have nothing to change in what 
precedes. 

In the series 8 and 2, these sensations of the semicircular canals 
evidently hold a very important place. Yet alone they would not 
suffice, because they can tell us only of the movements of the head; 
they tell us nothing of the relative movements of the body, or of the 
members in regard to the head. And more, it seems that they tell us 
only of the rotations of the head and not of the translations it may 
undergo. 









NOBEL MEDALS 



The gold medals conferred in connection with the Nobel prizes are here 
shown. Above is the medal in physics and in chemistry. The obverse of the 
medals in medicine and in literature is the same; the reverse of each of these 
medals is shown beneath. At the bottom is the medal for the promotion of 
peace. 



THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE 



9 1 



THE PEOGEESS OF SCIENCE 



THE KOBEL PRIZES 
The great prizes established by the 
will of Alfred Nobel were awarded for 
the sixth time on December 10, the 
anniversary of the death of the 
founder, as follows: Physics, Professor 
J. J. Thomson of Cambridge; chem- 
istry, M. Moissan of Paris; medicine, 
Professor S. Ramon y Cajal of Madrid 
and Professor Camillo Golgi of Pavia; 
literature, Professor Giosue Carducci 
of Bologna; for the promotion of peace 
among nations, President Roosevelt. 
These international awards, of the 
value of about $40,000, are of suf- 
ficient magnitude not only to be of 
interest to scientific men, but also to 
attract the attention of the civilized 
world. They are thus a real factor 
in increasing the dignity of the scien- 
tific career and in encouraging scien- 
tific work. 

Regret has already been expressed 
here that the confidence placed by 
Nobel in his native land has not been 
justified. His large fortune was made 
in Great Britain by the discovery and 
manufacture of dynamite, and it seems 
likely that the instructions of his will 
would have been more adequately car- 
ried out if their execution had been 
entrusted to the Royal Society and the 
British courts. Nobel doubtless be- 
lieved that the international obliga- 
tions would be fully met by the 
Scandinavian countries, and it is truly 
sad and discouraging that there should 
be lack of good faith in the adminis- 
tration of a fund intended as the 
testator states ' to benefit mankind.' 

Nobel's will is perfectly clear and 
explicit. It directs that the interest 
from the fund ' shall be divided into 
five equal parts,' which shall be an- 
nually awarded in prizes to those 



persons who shall have contributed 
most materially to benefit mankind 
during the year immediately preceding. 
" One share to the person who shall 
have made the most important dis- 
covery or invention in the domain of 
physics; one share to the person who 
shall have made the most important 
chemical discovery or improvement; 
one share to the person who shall have 
made the most important discovery in 
the domain of physiology or medicine; 
one share to the person who shall have 
produced in the field of literature the 
most distinguished work of an ideal- 
istic tendency, and, finally, one share 
to the person who shall have most or 
best promoted the fraternity of nations 
and the abolishment or diminution of 
standing armies and the formation and 
increase of peace congresses." 

In face of these explicit directions 
statutes have been drawn up, appar- 
ently with the sanction of the King 
of Sweden and others high in au- 
thority, providing that only sixty per 
cent, of the income need be used for 
the prizes and that they need be 
awarded only once in five years. The 
balance of the income — except perhaps 
in the case of the prize for the promo- 
tion of peace, regarding which infor- 
mation is lacking — is now used for 
the support of certain laboratories and 
libraries at Stockholm. These are 
doubtless needed, possibly more than 
the prizes established by Nobel, but 
they have been founded in dishonor. 
The clause establishing the laboratory 
of physics and chemistry is unpleas- 
antly disingenuous. It says that it is 
to be " established primarily for the 
purpose of carrying out, where the re- 
spective Nobel committees shall deem 
requisite, scientific investigation as to 
the value of those discoveries in the 



9 2 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



domains of physics and chemistry 
which shall have been proposed as 
meriting the award of Nobel prize to 
their authors. The institute shall, 
moreover, as far as its means allow, 
promote such researches in the do- 
mains of the sciences named as 
promise to result in salient advan- 
tage." The prizes have so far been 
awarded annually, but it is to be 
feared that when the money is needed 
in Sweden, it will be kept there in 
accordance with the provision of the 
statutes that when a prize is not 
awarded the money may be used for 
funds ' to promote the objects which 
the testator ultimately had in view 
in making his bequest in other ways 
than by means of prizes.' 

The administrators of the Nobel 
foundation have violated the condi- 
tions of the bequest in other ways 
which, though not so discreditable as 
the conveying of the money to local 
purposes and men, can not be regarded 
as justifiable. Nobel expressly stipu- 
lates that the prizes shall be awarded 
to those " who shall have contributed 
most materially to benefit mankind 
during the year immediately preced- 
ing." The statutes hedge, as follows: 
" By the proviso in the will to the 
effect that for the prize competition 
only such works or inventions shall be 
eligible as have appeared ' during the 
preceding year ' is to be understood 
that a work or invention for which a 
reward under the terms of the will is 
contemplated shall set forth the most 
modern results of work being done in 
that of the departments, as defined 
in the will, to which it belongs; works 
or inventions of older standing to be 
taken into consideration only in case 
their importance has not previously 
been demonstrated." 

In no single case has the award 
been made for work accomplished or 
published during the preceding year. 
The prizes have been given to men of 
eminence, most of whom accomplished 
their important work long ago. It 
would certainly be difficult to select 



each year the work most beneficial to 
mankind, and mistakes would un- 
doubtedly be made; but the effort to 
make such a selection and to award 
the prize without regard to national- 
ity, age or eminence would be a great 
stimulus to research, far greater prob- 
ably than the methods adopted. But 
the question is not which method is 
the better, but for what purposes 
Nobel made his bequest. The terms of 
the will have also been violated by 
dividing the prizes and by awarding 
them to institutions, and its spirit has 
been especially ignored by giving the 
power of nomination and determina- 
tion chiefly to Swedes. It does not of 
course follow that the dead hand 
should forever control. But Nobel 
died only ten years ago. He might 
be given his will for a little while at 
least, and under the special circum- 
stances of the case it would seem only 
just to submit any provisions which 
proved impracticable or unwise to in- 
ternational consideration. 

There is a certain lack of courtesy 
in thus criticizing actions sanctioned 
by the Swedish government and by 
those Swedish men of science at least 
who are accepting gratuities from the 
fund. Neither can we as a nation 
regard ourselves as fit to cast stones 
when we remember the histories of the 
Stewart, Tilden and other bequests, or 
when we consider that the Smith- 
sonian Institution, established by a 
foreigner ' for the increase and dif- 
fusion of knowledge among men ' has 
been used largely for the promotion 
of local interests. But it is only by 
frankly considering these things that 
we may learn that honor is more than 
great riches. 

TEE SCIENTIFIC MEETINGS OF 
CONVOCATION WEEK 
The American Association for the 
Advancement of Science and the na- 
tional scientific societies affiliated with 
it hold their annual meeting this year 
in New York City, beginning on De- 
cember 27. Washington and New York 



THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE 



93 




The Library of Columbia University. 



are now our two main scientific cen- 
ters, there being in each city about 
five hundred men engaged in research 
work. The first of the convocation 



ton four years ago, with an attendance 
estimated at 1,500 members, and there 
is good reason to suppose that the 
present meeting will be even larger and 



week meetings was held in Washing- i more wide reaching in its effects on the 















pwwi 


i^^H^nt 


if$& 




"IImRS 




» 


1 ¥ 

Hi H* 

l3l 


<* 


,: ' 




,&T? 


■«2r"' ■ ' * 


$! 








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mmmammB^mm ^-wa<vi 








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■■■■■■':; ■% #?■ ■'; M '< 











The School of Mines, Columbia University. This building has just been completed. 
In the foreground is the house used by the Faculty Club. 



94 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




Earl Hall, Columbia University. This building is the headquarters of the 
American Association and the affiliated societies. 



advancement and diffusion of science. 

It is not possible in this note to give 
a statement even of the main features 
of the programs. The American As- 
sociation meets in ten sections, each 
with its own presiding officers and its 
program of papers and discussions last- 
ing several days. There are further 
about twenty national societies which 
meet in affiliation, sometimes holding 
joint sessions with the sections of the 
association or with one another and 
sometimes meeting separately. These 
societies, which include those devoted 
to astronomy, physics, mathematics, 
chemistry, geology, geography, zoology, 
entomology, bacteriology, physiology, 
anatomy, botany, psychology, philos- 
ophy and anthropology, each has its 
independent organization and officers, 
so it is obvious that the programs are 
extensive. There will be at least five 
hundred papers read, which when pub- 
lished in detail will fill more than ten 
thousand pages. 

The high character and broad in- 
terest of the proceedings may be briefly 
but adequately shown by a list of some 
of the retiring or presiding officers, 
most of whom will make addresses. 
Every one familiar with science in 
America will understand that they 
represent the best work now being ac- 



complished. These officers include: 
Professor W. H. Welch of the Johns 
Hopkins University, Professor C. M. 
Woodward of Washington University, 
Professor William James of Harvard 
University, Professor Charles B. Daven- 
port of the Cold Spring Biological 
Laboratory, Professor E. C. Pickering 
of the Harvard College Observatory, 
Professor Carl Barus of Brown Uni- 
versity, Professor W. F. Osgood of Har- 
vard University, Dr. W. F. Hillebrand 
of the U. S. Geological Survey, Mr. C. 
C. Adams of New York City, Professor 
W. E. Castle of Harvard University, 
Mr. A. H. Kirtland of Maiden, Mass., 
Professor Erwin F. Smith of the U. 
S. Department of Agriculture, Pro- 
fessor W. H. Howell of the Johns Hop- 
kins University, Professor Franklin P. 
Mall of the Johns Hopkins University, 
Dr. F. S. Earle of Herradura, Cuba, 
Professor J. R. Angell of the Univer- 
sity of Chicago, Professor F. W. Put- 
nam of Harvard University, Professor 
John F. Woodhull of Teachers' College, 
Columbia University, Professor Edward 
Kasner of Columbia University, Pro- 
fessor W. C. Sabine of Harvard Uni- 
versity, Mr. Clifford Richardson of 
New York City, Mr. W. R. Warner of 
Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. A. C. Lane of the 
Michigan Geological Survey, Professor 



THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE 



95 



Edwin G. Conklin of the University of | for phagocytosis. The method of de- 
Pennsylvania, Dr. D. T. MacDongal of 
the Carnegie Institution, Mr. Charles 
A. Conant of New York City, and Dr. 
Simon Flexner of the Rockefeller In- 
stitute for Medical Research. 

Most of the meetings will be held at 
Columbia University, but there will 
also be sessions at the American 
Museum of Natural History, The 
Rockefeller Institute for Medical Re- 
search, the College of the City of New 
York, the New York Botanical Garden 
and elsewhere. These and other scien- 
tific institutions of the city have in 
recent years made extraordinary prog- 
ress. There is here only space to show 
several of the buildings of Columbia 
University, which, having removed to 
its new site overlooking the city of 
New York only ten years ago, has 
now a group of academic buildings in 
many respects unequalled. 



THE OPSONIC INDEX OF WRIGHT 
AND DOUGLAS 
Sir Almroth E. Wright, M.D., 
F.R.S., pathologist to St. Mary's Hos- 
pital, London, and late professor of 
pathology, Army Medical School, Net- 
ley, delivered the third course of lec- 
tures on the Herter foundation in the 
Physiological Building of Johns Hop- 
kins Medical School on October 8, 9 
and 10, 1906. The subject chosen was 
' The therapeutic inoculation of bac- 
terial vaccines and its application in 
connection with the treatment of bac- 
terial disease.' As this subject is an 
important elaboration of Metchnikoff's 
work upon phagocytosis and of Ehr- 
lich's side-chain theory, it may not be 
out of place briefly to outline from 
these lectures Wright's method and to 
cite a few illustrative cases showing 



termining the opsonic index is as fol- 
lows: About five cubic centimeters of 
blood is withdrawn from a healthy per- 
son under aseptic conditions by prick- 
ing the finger. This blood is then placed 
in a glass tube (A), slightly heated to 
facilitate clotting, and centrifugalized 
so as to separate the serum from the 
clot. In a second tube (B) is placed 
about the same amount of blood, to 
which is added sodium-citrate solution 
in order to prevent clotting. By cen- 
trifugalizing this there are obtained 
three layers, i. e., serum, white cor- 
puscles and red corpuscles. The serum 
it pipetted off and the solution contain- 
ing leucocytes at once becomes easi'y 
accessible. A third tube (C) contains 
an aqueous solution of tubercle bacilli. 
This is also centrifugalized in order to 
get a fine suspension. Equal quanti- 
ties of the serum of a healthy person 
(A) ; of white blood corpuscles (B) ; 
and of a tubercle bacilli solution (V) 
are drawn into a capillary tube and 
freely mixed. They are then placed 
in an incubator for twenty minutes. A 
film is next made and stained by any 
cf the well-known methods of staining 
for tubercle bacilli. Then the exact 
number of bacilli found to be present 
in thirty consecutive multinuclear leu- 
cocytes are counted by the aid of an 
oil-immersion lens — call it in this case 
X. The process is now repeated, sub- 
stituting the blood of a patient for the 
blood of the healthy person, the white 
corpuscles and aqueous tubercle solu- 
tion remaining constant in both esti- 
mations. The result obtained by count- 
ing these latter may be called Y; in 
that case the opsonic index of the pa- 
tient's blood is expressed thus, Y/X, 
which is usually a decimal. The en- 



the value of this mode of procedure in tire process occupies about one hour 

the treatment of certain bacterial dis- and a quarter in the hands of an expe- 

eases by vaccines. rienced laboratory worker. 

The term opsonin, meaning ' to pre- The surgeon's idea of curing bac- 

pare for a meal,' is given to a recently terial diseases, such as scrofulous 

discovered and important constituent glands of the neck, seems too often to 

of both normal and immune sera, by be that of extirpation, though he does 

means of which bacteria are prepared often employ instead of the knife 



9 6 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



various recent methods of treatment, 
such as Rontgen rays, Finsen's light, 
radium and Bier's passive hyperemia. 
The ideal treatment, however, of bac- 
terial disease is to put into the blood 
a substance, like an antiseptic, which 
will kill the bacteria or neutralize 
their toxines, but which will not injure 
the tissues with which it is brought 
in contact. This has been done to a 
certain extent by the antitoxin of diph- 
theria, but there has not been discov- 
ered, up to the present time, a scien- 
tific and exact method by means of 
which the therapeutic use of such 
agents as tuberculin could be controlled 
in order that the smallest amount of 
detriment possible might ensue to the 
patient during the course of the treat- 
ment. That there exists a certain sub- 
stance in the serum of the blood which 
is capable of aiding phagocytosis, is 
shown by the history of a case cited 
by Wright in which there was a condi- 
tion of furunculosis (boils) due to 
staphylococci. The patient's serum, his 
corpuscles and an emulsification of dead 
staphylococci gave a count of 26 ; while 
the patient's serum, the corpuscles from 
a normal person and the emulsion, 
gave 27 ; the normal serum, the normal 
corpuscles and the emulsion, gave 13; 
the normal serum, the patient's cor- 
puscles and the emulsion also giving 
13. This would show that the corpus- 
cular elements had nothing to do with 
the increased number of staphylococci 
which were taken up by the leucocytes 
and would show that the property of 
increasing the nrmber of staphylococci 
in the leucocytes is to be attributed to 
the so-called opsonin in the serum itself. 
By using this index after the injec- 
tion of the vaccine, it will be seen that 
there is usually a slight decrease in the 
opsonic index, followed by a marked 
secondary rise; though if the dose be 
too large or a second dose be adminis- 
tered too quickly, this secondary rise 
may not occur at all. The interesting 
fact was brought out by Wright in his 
lectures that a surgical operation, or 



even massage, or sitting up in bed, may 
cause a similar reaction in a tubercu- 
lous foci. The disadvantage of secur- 
ing the reaction by these methods is 
that live tubercle bacilli may be intro- 
duced into the blood stream and that 
their lodgment and subsequent multi- 
plication may take place. Dr. Wright 
is so sanguine of the success of this 
mode of treatment that he believes that 
every case of localized tuberculosis may 
be now cured by the proper use of the 
vaccines of tuberculosis. 

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS 
A meeting to commemorate the life 
and service of Samuel Pierpont Lang- 
ley, secretary of the Smithsonian In- 
stitution from 1887 to 1906, was held 
in the lecture room of the United 
States National Museum on December 
3. The following addresses were de- 
livered : ' Introductory Remarks,' by 
the chancellor of the Smithsonian In- 
stitution, the Honorable Melville W. 
Fuller, chief justice of the United 
States ; ' Memorial on Behalf of the 
Board of Regents,' by the Honorable 
Andrew D. White, LL.D.; 'Mr. Lang- 
ley's Contributions to Astronomy and 
Astrophysics,' by Professor E. C. Pick- 
ering, director of the Harvard College 
Observatory ; ' Mr. Langley's Contribu- 
tions to Aerodynamics,' by Octave 
Chanute, Esq., of Chicago. 

Dr. Henry Fairfield Osborn, Da 
Costa professor of zoology in Columbia 
University, curator of vertebrate pale- 
ontology and vice-president of the 
American Museum of Natural History, 
geologist and paleontologist of the U. 
S. Geological Survey, has declined the 
secretaryship of the Smithsonian In- 
stitution to which he was elected by 
the regents on December 4. — Dr. An- 
drew Fleming West, professor of Latin 
at Princeton University and dean of 
the graduate school, has declined the 
olfer of the executive committee of the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
to nominate him for the presidency. 



VOL. LXX. — 7. 




/f»6 



Professor of Physics, Cornell University, President of the American Association 

for the Advancement of Science. 



THE 

POPULAR SCIENCE 

MONTHLY 



FEBRUARY, 1907 



GLACIAL EBOSION IN ALASKA 1 

By Professor RALPH S. TARR 

CORNELL UNIVERSITY 

TTT HEN" Henry Gannett made the statement that " thousands of 
v ' cubic miles " of rock had been removed from the fiords of south- 
eastern Alaska by glacial erosion, and that " the relief features of this 
region, its mountains and its gorges partly filled by the sea, are all of 
glacial origin," - it is probable that many readers had the feeling that 
he had greatly exaggerated the case of glacial erosion. For my own 
part, I distinctly remember reading this with the feeling that, although 
glaciers are unquestionably capable of doing great work of erosion, it 
would require the most convincing evidence to satisfy me of even the 
approximate accuracy of this statement. Having now made four 
trips over a part of the route upon which Mr. Gannett based his 
statements, and having examined the phenomena attentively, there and 
elsewhere, I have the conviction that in reality his statement of the 
case is in close harmony with the truth. It is the purpose of this paper 
to state the argument upon which this conclusion is based. 

It is a well-known fact that it is possible to go from Seattle to 
Sitka, along a series of ' Channels/ i Canals ' and ' Reaches ' without 
once entering the open ocean. In addition to this unique ' Inside 
Passage' of upwards of 1,000 miles, there is a maze of branches of 
such enormous extent that the whole system of channels has not yet 
been charted. Everywhere these arms of the sea are enclosed between 

1 Published by permission of the Director of the U. S. Geological Survey. I 
am indebted to Lawrence Martin and 0. von Engeln, members of my expeditions, 
for photographic work, as indicated under the illustrations, and to Mr. Martin 
and B. S. Butler for valuable assistance in my field investigations. 

2 Harriman Alaska Expedition, Vol. II., History, Geography, Resources, 
1902, pp. 258-259. 



IOO 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




Fig. 1. Aligned Spurs, Inside Passage. Three such spurs seen on the right, the most 
distant one showing the change in slope. Two shown on the left, with the change in slope 
plainly visible in the more distant one. From such a condition as this there is every gradation 
to straight walled ' canals ' Photograph by O. von Engeln. 



mountain walls, and in many places they have the characteristics of 
grand fiords. 

Such a topography as this has, until recently, been quite generally 
explained as a result of subsidence of the land, by which the lower 
ends of the land valleys have been drowned by the admission of the 
sea water into them. In this way the irregular coast of Patagonia, the 
fiords of Norway, and other similar coast lines have been explained. 

Under ordinary conditions, the development of valleys by stream 
erosion produces certain characteristic features which are easily recog- 
nizable. These features are well understood by physiographers and 
have been fully stated on many occasions, and especially by Professor 
Davis, to whom, more than to any other, we owe our clear recognition 
of them and their application to the problems of glacial erosion. 

One of these features is the cross-section of the valley, which varies 
in width and steepness according to the stage of its development. A 
young stream valley is steep-sided and gorge-like. Its width is narrow 
in proportion to its depth. A mature valley, having long been exposed 
to action of the weather, has been broadened out by the weathering 
back of the valley walls so that its width is great as compared with its 



GLACIAL EROSION IN ALASKA 



IOI 



depth. For a stream valley to pass from youth to maturity, even 
under the most favorable conditions, requires a great lapse of time. 

The form of river valley to be expected in such a mountainous coun- 
try as the coast of British Columbia and Alaska, would therefore 
depend largely upon the length of time that the streams had been work- 
ing to cut the valleys. Had the stream action been brief, we should 
expect to find profound gorges; had it been long, broader valleys and 
the more gentle slopes of maturity. If, as is the case in Alaska, the 
same valleys have some of the characteristics of youth and some of 
maturity, a special explanation must be sought. 

A second characteristic which results from the normal develop- 
ment of stream valleys is the accordance in grade between main and 
tributary streams. No matter how fast the main stream may be 
lowering its valley, even though it be a Colorado Eiver, the side 
streams, including even weak tributaries, lower their mouths at ap- 
proximately the same rate that the main stream deepens its valley. 
This feature is so well established as a normal condition of valley 
development, that it may be stated as a law that, under normal condi- 
tions of stream development, tributary valleys enter main valleys ap- 
proximately at grade. That this is not the case in many instances in 
Alaska will be shown below. 

A third feature normally developed during the formation of stream 
valleys is that of a somewhat winding course with overlapping spurs, 
alternating first on one side then on the other. Because of this 




Fig. 2. Large Tributary Valley entering Grenville Channel from the East, 
below the Sea Level. Note steepened lower slope on left side of tributary valley. Photo- 
graph by Lawrence Martin. 



102 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




Fig. 3. Hanging Valley in Grenville Channel, Inside Passage. Waterfall of stream 
draining the broad, U-shaped valley seen near water in right-hand half of picture. Photo- 
graph by Lawrence Martin. 

feature a view up or down such a valley is not usually very extensive, 
being cut off by the projecting spurs around which the stream swings. 
The absence of this feature in those Alaskan valleys where there is a 




Fig. 4 Waterfall on the Very Face of the Rock Lip of a Hanging Valley behind 
Sara Island, Inside Passage. Photograph by Lawrence Martin. 



GLACIAL EROSION IN ALASKA 103 

discordance in the other directions mentioned above, calls for ex- 
planation. 

The partial submergence of a region traversed by a series of val- 
leys with the characteristics just stated, would produce results which 
can be readily and accurately predicted. The line up to which the 
new sea level reached would be rendered irregular for two reasons. 
In the first place, the overlapping spurs would introduce a winding 
coast line in the fiords, with capes on one side opposite reentrants on 
the other. In the second place, since the tributary valleys joined the 
main valleys at grade, the sea water would enter their mouths and thus 
transform their lower portions to bays. 

Examining the actual conditions along the Inside Passage to 
Alaska, we find very wide departures from this postulated result of a 
drowning of normal land valleys. Many of the passages are in the 
form of long straight ' Peaches ' and ' Canals,' up and down which one 
can look for miles without obstruction to the view. In other cases the 
' Reaches/ though not perfectly straight, have alternating projections 
and reentrants (Fig. 1). These, however, depart from typical over- 
lapping spurs in two important respects. In the first place, they are 
much less pronounced. In the second place, instead of having a uni- 
form slope from the crest to the tip of the spurs, they have a moderate 
slope above, like that of ordinary valley spurs, but terminate on the 
water side in a steep and even precipitous slope. They have the ap- 
pearance, therefore, of being truncated valley spurs; and a view 
through such a channel often shows a succession of these partial 
spurs with the truncated faces in alignment. The general appearance 
of these aligned spurs suggests that some powerful rasping agent has 
moved through the fiord and truncated the overlapping spurs back to 
a fairly uniform distance. 

The fiords of the Inside Passage furnish all gradations from typical 
overlapping spurs to aligned spurs, and to straight, smoothed i Canals ' 
from which all semblance of spurs has been erased. In the latter case 
the valley walls themselves often possess a double slope, steep and 
even precipitous below, more gentle above. The steepened lower slope 
has the appearance of having been incised in a valley whose remnant 
is represented by the upper more gentle slope. 

In those ' Peaches ' which are long and straight, and in those with 
aligned spurs, the tributary valleys enter the main valley at very differ- 
ent levels. Some, especially the larger, enter below the level of the 
sea, and in these cases there are bays in their mouths (Fig. 2) ; many 
others have their mouths high above the fiord level (Figs. 3, 4 and 5). 
Although there is no uniform height at which these side valleys enter 
the main trough, in general it is true that, the smaller the tributary 
valley, the higher its mouth lies above the main valley bottom. These 
are called hanging valleys because their mouths hang above the bottom 



io4 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




Fig. 5. Hanging Valley, Grenville Channel, Inside Passage. The forest-covered lip 
is solid rock, but it looks like a dam. Doubtless if one went to the crest of this lip he would 
find the broad valley extending, with moderate grade up the distant mountain. Note the 
waterfall near center of picture. Photograph by Lawrence Martin. 



of the main valley to which they are tributary, instead of entering at 
grade, as is normal. 

Where these Alaskan hanging valleys are most typically developed, 
the appearance is quite remarkable. The valley wall of the long, 
straight ' Beach ' or ' Canal ' is broken by a broad U-shaped tributary 
valley, whose cross section, if explained by ordinary methods of valley 
formation, would require a long period of time for its formation. 
The stream occupying the hanging valley flows with moderate grade 
up to the point where the tributary valley is intersected by the straight 
wall of the main i Beach.' Then, instead of continuing into the main 
valley with the same grade, it tumbles over the lip of the hanging valley 
and descends to the fiord in a succession of leaps, sometimes on the 
very face of the main valley wall (Fig. 4), sometimes in a shallow 
gorge (Figs. 3 and 5). 

In these most typical cases, there is such an absolute discordance 
of conditions as to cause comment from even the most casual observers, 
as I had occasion to observe in many instances in sailing through the 
Inside Passage. The first feature to attract attention was the water- 
fall. It was then noticed that the stream emerged from a broad valley, 
far up which one could look, though without seeing its bottom (Figs. 
3-5). This produced the impression that the lip of the hanging 
valley was really a dam across the mouth of a broad tributary valley. 



GLACIAL EROSION IN ALASKA 



*°5 



This deceptive appearance was so striking that, on asking fellow voy- 
agers for an explanation of the hanging valleys, I have again and 
again received the answer that the mouth of the valley has been 
dammed and a lake formed behind it. So apparent is this explanation 
that the captain of the steamer stated positively that there are always 
lakes behind these lips. 

Thus the hanging valley is so abnormal a feature that even to 
ordinary observers it seems to demand some special explanation. That 
there are lakes in some of the hanging valleys is probable; but it is not 
a necessary condition. The lip is not a dam; it is unconsumed rock in 
a valley bottom that has been left high above the main valley by ex- 
ceptional conditions which have deepened the main trough. It was of 
course impossible to stop and go into the many hanging valleys which 
we passed in the Inside Passage, but farther up the coast I was able to 
enter such valleys and prove, what I was well aware of before, that the 
lip is not a dam and that lakes form no necessary part of the hanging- 
valley condition (see Figs. 7 and 8). 

Two other features of the valleys in the Inside Passage are note- 
worthy. One is the fact that in both the main and tributary valleys 
the rock walls have been smoothed and rounded by glacial action, prov- 
ing the former extension of glaciers through this series of ' Keaches.' 
The other is the remarkably uniform cross-section of both the main 
and tributary valleys, as is so well illustrated in many of the accompany- 




Fig. 6. A Hanging Valley on the South Side of Xunatak Fiord. This valley lies 
on the same side, but about a mile west of the succeeding pictures (Figs. 7, 8 and 9). The float- 
ing ice is from Nunatak glacier about four miles distant. Photograph by Lawrence Martin. 



io6 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



ing photographs. They are distinctly U-shaped with smooth and 
regular walls. In spite of their breadth, which is a normal charac- 
teristic of mature valleys, the enclosing walls, especially in the lower 
portions, are oftentimes exceedingly steep and even precipitous, a char- 
acteristic of young, not of mature, stream valleys. Thus the same 
valley has the characteristics of two stages of development, the breadth 
of maturity and the steep-sidedness of youth. 

It is evident that such conditions as those which characterize so 
many of the valleys of the Inside Passage can not be due to normal 
conditions of stream valley development. The discrepancies and anom- 
alies are altogether too numerous and striking for such an explanation. 




Fig. 7. The Rock Lip of a Hanging Valley Just West of the Nunatak in Nunatak 
Fiord. There is a vertical difference of 700 feet between the camera site and the lip of the 
valley. Photographs 9 and 10 were taken from this lip. Photograph by O. von Engeln. 



If this is true of the origin of the valley forms, it follows that the 
present outline of the intricate maze of channels on this coast cannot 
be explained as a result of the drowning of normal stream-made val- 
leys, as has been so universally believed to be the case. 

It is now quite generally admitted that some of the features which 
characterize the 'Peaches' of the Inside Passage do not admit of ex- 
planation as a result of normal stream work. The feature that has 
been most uniformly admitted, to be abnormal is that of discordance of 
tributary and main valleys. The explanation of this hanging valley 
condition as a result of glacial erosion, which this paper is supporting, 
is not, however, so uniformly accepted; the chief objection of those who 
have not yet accepted it being their belief that glaciers are incompetent 
to perform such great work as would be required if hanging valleys are 



GLACIAL EROSION IN ALASKA 



107 



explained in this way. In consequence of this inability to accept the 
conclusion that glaciers are powerful agents of erosion, a number of 
alternate hypotheses have been suggested, of which the following are 
some of the most prominent. 

One of these special explanations is based upon the conception that 
glaciers act to protect rather than to erode. This explanation assumes 
that glaciers occupied and protected the tributary valleys while the 
main valleys were free from ice, and that, while this condition lasted, 
the main valleys were so deepened that, when the ice finally melted from 
the protected tributary valleys, they were hanging well above the over- 
deepened main troughs. When it is considered that thousands of 
hanging valleys are already known, and that in each case it was neces- 
sary for a small glacier to linger with its terminus at the very lip 




Fig. 8. Looking into Hanging Valley (Fig. 7) from Rock Lip at Elevation of 7°0 
Feet. The stream flows in a small gorge at the right. The elevation in the middle background 
of the valley is the moraine-covered terminus of a dwindling glacier. The valley floor is all 
rock, and rock extends continuously across its mouth. Photograph by O. von Engeln. 



of the hanging valley throughout the long period of time required 
to deepen the main channel, this explanation seems almost too 
absurd to consider. It furthermore fails to account for the aligned 
spurs, and, above all, for the great breadth and U-shape of fche 
main troughs. While one might admit this as a possible cause for 
individual cases, it fails utterly as a general explanation. 

A second hypothesis proposed, is that glacial erosion is lateral 
rather than vertical, and that the hanging valleys are due to the wear- 
ing back of the tributary mouths so that they are left hanging. That 



io8 



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GLACIAL EROSION IN ALASKA 109 

there is marked lateral erosion is generally admitted by all believers 
in glacial erosion; but that this is the dominant form of glacial erosion 
would require for its acceptance much better evidence than has been 
presented. It may fairly be asked, if there is such pronounced lateral 
erosion, why should there not also be vertical erosion of equal or greater 
amount? Even if excessive lateral erosion should be granted as a 
possibility, of which there is no proof, it alone would fail to account for 
all the conditions observed. It would fail to explain why remnants of 
valley spurs are left side by side with pronounced hanging valleys; for 
in such cases the spurs should certainly be rubbed completely away. 
But, even more fatal than this is the fact that if the grade of the 
hanging valley is projected out into the main valley, it will, in a vast 
number of cases, fall far short of meeting the main valley at grade. 
Consequently, if glacial erosion is admitted at all, the element of ver- 
tical erosion must be granted as a prominent part of the process. 

A third explanation proposed for the hanging-valley condition 
is that of capture and diversion of tributary streams. No one would 
deny that the diversion of a stream by capture might leave it hanging 
above the valley to which it was originally tributary. But to attempt 
to apply • such an explanation to the multitude of known cases of 
hanging valleys would not be so generally accepted. It would require 
a marvelous development of stream capture in special localities and, 
strangely enough, almost entirely in regions of former glaciation. 
Before this hypothesis could be seriously considered as a general ex- 
planation of hanging valleys, it would be necessary to account for the 
fact that this process has operated so extensively in glaciated regions, 
whereas it so rarely operates in unglaciated countries. But even if this 
explanation were otherwise probable for hanging valleys, it still leaves 
unexplained the associated phenomena of aligned spurs, steepened lower 
slopes and general U-shape of the main troughs. 

A fourth hypothesis proposed is that of rejuvenation. By this it 
is assumed that the main and lateral valleys had an accordance of 
grade during an earlier cycle of development, but that recent uplift, or 
other cause, gave to the streams a new power of cutting, making them 
young again, or rejuvenating them. As a result of this there was 
rapid cutting, the main streams working much faster than the laterals 
and leaving them hanging. This explanation is totally inadequate for 
the Alaskan conditions. It fails to account for the truncated spurs; 
it gives no explanation of the difference in level at which the laterals 
are hanging; and, moreover, even if it operated, it could not possibly 
produce the other results observed. Such rejuvenation would not 
develop a broad main valley, but a narrow gorge. But, even if we were 
to admit, which physiographers would not, that such deepening and 
broadening of the main valley would be possible without corresponding 
deepening at the mouths of the laterals, it is inconceivable that, during 



no 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



all the time required for the deepening and broadening of the main 
trough, the lateral stream was scarcely able to even scratch the lip of 
the hanging valley (Fig. 4). This point may be illustrated by a 
specific case, taken not from the Inside Passage, but from Nunatak 
Fiord, a branch of the Yakutat Bay Inlet which lies about midway 
between Sitka and Controller Bay just southeast of Mount St. Elias. 
This fiord has been so recently occupied by ice that vegetation, 
excepting scattered annual plants, has not yet been able to take hold 
on the soil. The Nunatak Glacier (Fig. II) has receded up this fiord 
more than a mile in ten years. Unquestionably there has been power- 
ful glacial erosion here, for the walls of the fiord are smoothed and 
grooved by glacial grinding, and there are no valley spurs left. Several 
of the valleys tributary to the fiord are hanging high above it (Figs. 6 




Fig. 10. Looking Across the Mouth of Disenchantment Bay, Russell Valley (Fig. 11) 
on Left. This valley is hanging at about sea level. A small valley to the right of this hangs 
fully 1.000 feet above sea level. A somewhat larger valley ■ n the extreme right of the picture 
is hanging at a level intermediate between these two. To account for such discordance by 
faulting would demand very complex block faulting. But the rock walls of the fiord are 
plainly exposed and there is no evidence of it. Photograph by O. von Engeln. 



and 7), and in all the larger of these small glaciers are still present. 
The entire absence of forest exposes the conditions here far more clearly 
than is the case along the forest-clothed Inside Passage. 

Viewed from the fiord, the hanging valley selected for this illus- 
tration is plainly seen to be a broad, U-shaped trough heading well 
back in the mountains and with a small glacier at its head. Tbe 
wide open mouth of this broad valley is truncated by the straight, steep 
rock wall of Nunatak Fiord and left perched high above even its water 



GLACIAL EROSION IN ALASKA in 

surface. This valley wall extends completely across the mouth of the 
hanging valley, forming a rock lip seven hundred feet high (Fig. 7). 
Climbing to the crest of this lip, one is able to look up the hanging 
valley to its mountain-walled head (Fig 8). It is found to be a broad, 
U-shaped valley with a flat floor and moderate grade. 

The ice-born stream which flows along the bottom of this valley 
has cut only a shallow trench in the rock floor, through which it flows 
with moderate grade until the lip of the hanging valley is reached, 
when its grade abruptly increases and it tumbles down the main valley 
wall, as a succession of waterfalls, in the bottom of a gorge so shallow 
that the entire series of cascades, from the crest of the lip to its 
bottom, is plainly visible from the fiord. The stream has begun to 
lower its grade to harmonize with the main valley; but it has not had 
time yet to carry the process very far. That there is no possibility of 
the presence of a drift-filled valley of earlier date is proved by the 
fact that bed rock outcrops across the entire lip. 

On any assumption of stream rejuvenation, it is utterly incredible 
that all the time required to deepen the main trough of Nunatak Fiord, 
and to broaden it into the form of maturity which it possesses (Figs. 
9 and 14), should have been too short to have permitted the stream in 
the hanging valley to cut a more profound gorge, on such a steep slope, 
and to attain a better approximation to that accordance of grades toward 
which all tributaries tend in their relation to the main streams. Wher- 
ever one critically examines a hanging valley in its relation to the 
main trough, the same conclusion is necessitated. 

A fifth explanation that has been proposed is faulting. It is of 
course admitted that a block fault, by dropping down the bottom of a 
main valley, would leave the tributary valleys hanging. Although 
admitted as a possibility for individual cases, the application of such 
an explanation to Alaskan conditions in general, fails utterly to account 
for the facts. It would not explain the truncated spurs on both sides, 
nor the U-shape of the main and lateral valleys. Furthermore, with- 
out the introduction of complicated secondary faulting, it would not 
account for the difference in level at which the valleys hang above the 
main trough to which they are tributary (Fig. 10). Another fact which 
ordinary block faulting would fail to explain is the frequent presence 
of a condition of double hanging valleys, — a lateral hanging above the 
main valley, and a tributary of this lateral hanging above it. 

Such a condition of double hanging valleys may be illustrated by the 
case of Eussell Valley (Fig. 10) which enters the lower end of Disen- 
chantment Bay, a part of the Yakutat Bay inlet. This valley has a 
moderate slope and a remarkably well-developed U-shape (Fig. 11). 
Where it joins the fiord it has- built a gravel delta, so that there the 
actual rock bottom is not visible; but about a mile back from the 
fiord, bed rock occurs in the valley bottom near its center. Extending 



112 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




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GLACIAL EROSION IN ALASKA 113 

the grade of this valley out into the main trough of Disenchantment 
Bay, where the nearest soundings show a depth of from 600 to 1,000 
feet, the profile falls far short of reaching the bed of the bay. It is 
assumed, therefore, to be a hanging valley with the lip at or just 
below the surface of the fiord water. If we grant that this particular 
hanging valley may be due to faulting, which can not be disproved, 
we are still left with the necessity of assuming block faulting along 
the axis of the Eussell Valley to account for the hanging condition of 
its own tributaries whose lips lie fully a thousand feet above the Eussell 
Valley bottom (Fig. 12). In some cases even a third series of laterals 
have been seen hanging above a tributary, which itself hangs above 
another, which is hanging above a main trough. 

To propose faulting as an explanation for such a complex system 
of hanging valleys does not seem rational without definite evidence 
of the faulting, and without some explanation of why the results of 
such recent faulting are so common in glaciated regions and so rare in 
unglaciated areas. Moreover, in some of the cases mentioned, for ex- 
ample, the Eussell Valley itself, if there had been such faulting, it 
would be easily detected in the sedimentary rocks which form the walls 
of the valley. Since a search for evidence of recent faulting in this 
valley failed to find it, I feel warranted in asserting that there has been 
no such faulting as the theory demands. A glance at the photographs 
(Figs. 10 and 11) is sufficient to show that the form of this valley 
could not be accounted for on the basis of block faulting. Its flaring, 
curving, U-shaped sides are not the forms characteristic of cliffs due 
to faulting. Should it be stated that block faulting occurred at a 
date sufficiently remote to permit the weathering back of the valley 
walls to the present curve, it is sufficient to answer that in all the 
time required for this, the lateral streams must of necessity have 
trenched the bottoms of the hanging valleys and reduced them to an 
accordant grade with the Eussell Valley stream. As Fig. 12 clearly 
shows, this is far from being the case. 

From the above statement of hypotheses it will be seen that it 
is generally admitted that hanging valleys are a peculiar phenomenon 
calling for special explanation. It is also true that this phenomenon 
is practically confined to regions of former glaciation. Together with 
the U-shaped valle} r , truncated spurs, and steepened main valley slopes, 
the condition of hanging valleys is reported not only from a wide area 
in Alaska and British Columbia, but in such other regions of former 
glaciation as the Sierra Nevada, the Eocky Mountains, the Finger 
Lake Valleys of central New York, the coast of Norway, the Alps, 
the Himalayas and New Zealand. While exceptional instances of 
hanging valleys, which are readily explained in other ways, have been 
reported from unglaciated regions, these are so few and scattered, and 
VOL. lxx. — 8. 



ii4 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




Fig. 12. Hanging Valley Tributary to Russell Valley (Fig. 11). The first tributary 
from the mouth on the north side. The lip of this valley lies about 1,000 feet above the main 
valley floor, and the stream flows over it on the very surface of the rock, forming a gorge, 
below which it crosses moraine. A small glacier lies at the head of this hanging valley. Pho- 
tograph by Lawrence Martin. 

so unlike their abundant and striking development in glaciated regions, 
that they are hardly to be considered as bearing upon the problem. 

The facts discovered in reading the literature and in field investi- 
gation, point to glacial erosion as the cause of the hanging valleys and 
associated phenomena, while no facts are found that are vitally opposed 
to it. Of no other hypothesis proposed may the same be said; on 
the contrary, all other explanations are open to fatal objections.. The 
great majority of students of glacial action are now in accord with the 
belief in profound glacial erosion in favorable situations. Even those 
opposed to the explanation by glacial erosion admit that the forms 
under discussion are what would be expected if it were possible for 
glaciers to perform such great erosive work. 

The few who are opposed to this explanation have been able to 
offer no better argument against it than their failure to believe in 
the ability of ice to do erosive work in great amount. Some of this 
opposition is based upon observations at the margins of small glaciers. 
But all such observations have little value; for, as has been well stated 
by another, if an observer could have been where ice was really capable 
of profoundly eroding, he would not have been able to come back and 
talk about it. The weak, retreating margin of a small valley glacier 
gives no better basis for understanding profound glacial erosion than 
a small meadow brook gives for a conception of the mode of formation 



GLACIAL EROSION IN ALASKA 



"5 



of a Colorado Canyon. The objections to ice as an agent of profound 
erosion remind one very much of the objections which, in the early 
days, were urged against water as an agent of erosion. In this con- 
nection reference may be made to a short note, signed H. G., on page 
249 of the National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 16, 1905. This little 
squib, which we may fairly safely ascribe to Henry Gannett, although 
written in a humorous and somewhat sarcastic vein, is really a note- 
worthy contribution to the discussion on glacial erosion. In it, as a 
sort of reply to a recent arraignment of glacial erosion, he applies to 
the now accepted belief in river erosion some of the same class of 
arguments as those which have been urged against glacial erosion, and 
with telling effect. 

Since the establishment of the theory of profound glacial erosion 
is the work of the last fifteen years, and since the full force of the 
evidence has only recently been accepted by some of our leading physi- 
ographers, it is natural that as yet there should not be universal accept- 
ance of so new an idea, carrying with it such tremendous consequences. 
But the fact that some workers have not yet accepted the doctrine does 
not necessarily constitute a strong argument against it, and certainly 
not enough to counterbalance the overwhelming evidence in its favor. 
When a large number of people are involved, ultraconservatism is 
always to be expected among some of them. There are, for example, 
even at the present day, some highly intelligent men who are writing 



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^p. 




Fig. 13. The North Wall of Hidden Glacier Valley, a Tributary to the Yakutat 
Bay Inlet, the Glacier Terminus Showing in the Midground. Note the smoothed, 
striated lower walls due to glacial erosion as contrasted with the irregular topography of the 
higher slopes due to ordinary weathering and stream erosion. A hanging valley enter- at 
about the level between these two classes of slopes about a third of the way from the right 
margin above the glacier. Photograph by R. S. Tarr. 



n6 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



polemics in opposition to the belief in former continental glaciation, 
which almost every one now considers definitely established, though 
after a hard fight. 

It does not seem necessary at the present time to undertake to 
show hoiu the glaciers did this, nor to prove that they could do it 
when the evidence is so clear that they actually did do it. Suffice it 
to say, that if glaciers smooth, scratch and pluck the rocks over which 
they pass, as every one knows they do (Fig. 13), it requires only a 
sufficiently long continuation of this action to lower valleys to any 
extent up to the time when they cease to further smooth, scratch and 
pluck. A century ago it seemed to many observers that at the slow 
observed rate of recession of Niagara Falls it was impossible to explain 





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Fig. 14 Looking Up (East) Nunatak Fiord. The rock knoll, or Nunatak, in the middle 
of the picture, 1,400 feet high, splits the Nunatak glacier one arm, on the left, depcending to 
the sea through the broader valley, the other occupying a smaller U-shaped valley on the right 
side of the Nunatak. but not upon reaching the sea. When first seen by Prof. Russell in 1S91 
these two arms nearly enclosed the Nunatak. The site of the hanging (Fig. 7) valley is on the 
right side of the picture. Photograph by Lawrence Martin. 



the seven miles of gorge as a result of this process. No one now doubts 
this explanation of the Niagara gorge; and it is not doubted that the 
Colorado Canyon has been formed by slow sawing into the strata, like 
that which the river is now engaged in, but continued through a long 
period of time. An application of the same principle — a slow rate 
of erosion working for a long period of time — is all that is necessary to 
understand profound glacial erosion, once it is granted that glaciers 



GLACIAL EROSION IN ALASKA 117 

do scour their beds at all, as every one admits, and that there is plenty 
of time available, as is well known to be the case. 

Accepting ice erosion as a doctrine now established, as it seems 
to me we must, we will briefly examine some of the consequences 
of such erosion. Hanging valleys, U-shaped valleys, aligned spurs, 
and steepened valley slopes are among the more prominent of these con- 
sequences. From their existence we must of necessity infer enormous 
vertical as well as lateral erosion, such erosion occurring in places 
where actively moving streams of ice were concentrated in valleys along 
relatively narrow lines. Along the Inside Passage, and in Yakutat 
Bay, the two sections immediately under consideration in this paper, 
the amount of erosion which must be deduced from the evidence is in 
places not less than two thousand feet vertically; and erosion of this 
magnitude has occurred along hundreds of miles of fiords. 

In discussions of the significance of hanging valleys, it has been 
rather common to speak as if the main valleys were eroded while 
the tributaries were left undeepened. This has been done here, as 
doubtless in other writings, in order not to introduce an unnecessary 
complexity into the discussion. It would, however, be entirely errone- 
ous to suppose that the lateral valleys were not eroded also. It re- 
quires only an examination of the photographs accompanying this 
paper to see that the normal cross-section of the hanging tributary 
valleys has the same curve as that of the main valleys; that is, the 
curve which glacial erosion produces. 

From the statement just made, it follows that the level at which 
a lateral valley now hangs above the main trough is not to be taken 
as the full measure of vertical erosion along the main valley. That 
this is true is indicated by the fact that of several valleys tributary to 
a main trough, no two usually hang at exactly the same level. There 
may be, and in many cases are, wide differences in the hanging levels 
of neighboring valleys (Fig. 10) ; some being perched far up on the 
mountain side, others so far lowered that the sea water enters and 
drowns their mouths (compare Figs. 2 and 5), which, however, are 
still hanging above the bottom of the fiord. Such differences in the 
hanging level are, in the main, a measure of the difference in amount 
of erosive work performed by glaciers in the several hanging laterals. 

In general, those valleys occupied by the largest glaciers have been 
lowered most ; and it may be stated as a law that, other conditions being 
equal, the height of a hanging valley above the bottom of the main 
trough varies inversely with the size of the glacier. The ojDeration of 
this law is, of course, modified by the influence of varying rock texture, 
slope and other causes which tend to modify the rate of ice erosion. 
We are not yet in full enough possession of the facts relating to the 
process of glacial erosion to warrant an attempt at a full statement 
of the nature and result of the various influences which tend to modify 



n8 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

the rate of erosion. There can be no question, however, that the nature 
of the valley rock is of profound importance, some weak rocks being 
eroded with relative rapidity by small glaciers, other rocks resisting 
the erosion of even large, powerful glaciers. Two causes, the size 
of the glacier and the nature of the enclosing rock, are, in all proba- 
bility, of most importance in the modification of the height of valleys 
left hanging by more rapid erosion along the main trough. 

An argument which has been advanced against the power of 
glaciers to erode, is the fact that rock islands sometimes rise from the 
floor of valleys through which powerful glaciers have passed. It 
has been claimed that such protuberances should have been erased 
if the glaciers were really eroding greatly. When the operation 
of glaciers as agents of erosion is truly understood, however, this 
argument seems to favor rather than to oppose glacial erosion. It 
is not to be supposed that glaciers would erode everywhere at the same 
rate. There is naturally a variation in the rate of erosion of a valley 
bottom dependent upon at least two important influences — nature of 
rock and rapidity of ice currents — both of which are liable to vary in 
any valley and thus necessarily give rise to irregularities in the ice- 
eroded valley bottom. Once an obstacle arose in the path of a power- 
fully moving glacier, it would have the tendency to split the ice current 
around itself, much as a sand bar spilts the current of a river. By 
interfering with the ice current in line with the obstacle, and by caus- 
ing a concentration of movement on either side of it, the size of the 
obstacle would naturally increase. Eock knolls, islands and nunataks 
(Fig. 14) are such characteristic features in glacially eroded valleys 
that, when the full significance of glacial erosion is understood, I be- 
lieve they will be found to constitute one of- the distinctive evidences 
of glacial erosion, to be -classed with hanging valleys, truncated spurs, 
steepened slopes and U-shaped profiles. 

In discussions on glacial erosion much attention has been paid to 
rock basins, — basins with rock rims in the bottoms of glaciated velleys, 
and oftentimes holding lakes. Such basins also occur on the fiord 
floors of the Inside Passage. Irregularities in erosion, due to dif- 
ferences in rock resistance and in ice currents, readily account for these. 
As Andrews has shown in his remarkable papers on glacial erosion 
in the ISTew Zealand fiords, one important cause for such basins, and 
other forms of vigorous erosion, is the convergence of ice currents in 
a valley of smaller cross section, causing acceleration of motion. 
Rock basins must be added to the land forms resulting from and hence 
indicative of profound glacial erosion. 

Another feature at first apparently opposing glacial erosion is that 
hanging valleys, truncated spurs, and steepened slopes are at times well 
developed on one side of a main trough and either absent or poorly 
developed on the other. This, however, seems a perfectly normal result 



GLACIAL EROSION IN ALASKA 119 

of ice erosion, for, as in a river, the current naturally at time impinges 
upon one side with greater force than on the other, as, for example, 
when by the entrance of a tributary the ice current is pushed against 
the opposite side of the -valley. 

A prominent feature in regions of former glaciation, both of con- 
tinental glaciers and mountain-valley glaciers, is the presence of 
through valleys, that is, valleys in which there is now no pronounced 
divide. Such valleys abound in the Finger Lake region of central 
New York, and they are common also in Alaska, and, as Penck has 
shown, in the Alps. The evidence points to the conclusion that many 
of these through valleys owe their characteristics to the passage of ice 
across divides, and the consequent lowering of the divides by glacial 
erosion. In some places in Alaska, as in the Yakutat Bay region, the 
ice is still pouring across such divides; in other cases, owing to the 
shrunken state of present-day glaciers, the through valleys are now oc- 
cupied by glaciers which flow both ways from a low, flat divide area 
across which, at a higher stage of the ice, through glaciers once passed. 
So far as seen in the Yakutat Bay region, none of the through valleys 
are entirely free from ice ; but in many cases the glaciers are so shrunken 
as to expose the valley form, which is distinctly that characteristic of 
glacial erosion. In central New York, where the work was performed 
by continental glaciers instead of valley tongues, and where the ice 
is entirely gone, the character of these through valleys is easily observed. 
They are often U-shaped, steep-sided, straight-walled, and possess 
hanging valleys. 

The acceptance of the conclusion that glaciers have been powerful 
agents of erosion, and doubtless still are where now in active operation, 
seems a necessary result of a candid consideration of the evidence. 
Once this conclusion is reached, a number of remarkable phenomena, 
otherwise not satisfactorily explained, find ready explanation. The 
belief in glacial erosion carries with it stupendous consequences, for it 
assigns to glacial action some of the most striking topographical fea- 
tures of regions formerly occupied by actively moving ice. Nowhere 
is the evidence clearer, or the results more striking, than along the 
Inside Passage to Alaska, and in the fiords northwest of this, such as 
Yakutat Bay. For those who still doubt the effectiveness of ice erosion, 
a trip through these fiords is strongly recommended instead of a study 
of the weak termini of small, dwindling Alpine glaciers. 



i2o POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



THE RELATION OF SCHOOL ORGANIZATION TO 

INSTRUCTION 1 

By Professor WILBUR S. JACKMAN 

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO 

~N the text of an ancient story we are told that man was made out 
-*- of the dust of the earth, and according to one version, at least, he 
was then leaned up against the fence to dry. Afterwards the breath 
of life was breathed into his nostrils and he became a living soul. This 
venerable myth, accepted in its substance as truth by a part of the 
human race for centuries, naturally lent its form to educational theory, 
and thus profoundly influenced the methods employed in training 
the young. From earliest times down to a generation ago education 
was a breathing-in process that simply continued and expanded the 
original act of creation. Then there arose a new conception concern- 
ing the making of a man and educational theory is slowly changing its 
form. Responding to influences from without, life is an unfolding 
process from within — this is the conception that is now shaping our 
methods of instruction. 

The most interesting of all subjects of study is the evolution of 
evolution. That the development and maintenance of the organism 
depend upon its concessions to environment is a fact that has been 
recognized, in a general way, from the dawn of the evolutionary idea. 
The formal statement of the theory of evolution was long anticipated by 
the practical sense of the world in its knowledge of the dependence of 
the physical organism upon its material surroundings. But almost half 
a century has past since that doctrine was stated and even now we 
but dimly see its profound bearing upon the relation of the spiritual 
life to spiritual conditions. And the extreme newness of a certain 
phase of this higher aspect of evolution is evidenced by this meeting 
itself, which is perhaps the first ever called for the distinct purpose 
of considering the development of the social nature of the human being 
under the stimulus of social conditions. 

The particular agency in social development that it is proposed 
to consider here is the school. It is not intended to deny that there are 
other agencies that have a similar purpose; it is the intention, merely, 
to maintain the thesis that within the range of its possibilities the 
school should be organized so that it may operate as a social institu- 

1 Paper read before The Social Education Congress, Boston, Mass., No- 
vember 30, 1906. 



SCHOOL ORGANIZATION AND INSTRUCTION 121 

tion; and it will be the aim, also, to point out some of the most im- 
portant changes needed in present school organization that the desired 
end may be attained. 

The chief obstacle at present in the way of socializing the schools is 
found in their forms of organization. The machinery of the average 
school is an invention for the purpose of holding a pupil down while 
we educate him by the breathing-in process. A social institution is an 
organism; whereas, the school is formed essentially on a plan designed 
for dealing with a sum of particulars. It is treated as a body having 
merely the agglutinant characteristics of an aggregation. Few people 
realize that the transformation of a school of the average type into a 
social body means more than a change of name; in fact, however, it 
really means a revolution. 

Regardless of outward forms and of protestations to the contrary, 
the real end of the school has been and still is the individual for him- 
self and not the group. The school desk nailed to the floor circum- 
scribes the space for the individual. The school grade represents an 
endeavor to get pupils together who are so near alike that they may be 
treated as an individual. The cry for extremely small classes, the 
exclusiveness of the small private school, the emplo} r ment of tutors, 
all stand for efforts made toward the education of the individual for 
himself practically in a state of isolation. The dead and persistent 
drill upon the three R's backed up by the birch, by marks, by bribes, 
by promises of promotion, by threats and by cajolery has but a feeble 
socializing power. It is on the contrary essentially individualistic in 
the unwholesome rivalry which it always promotes. 

If any one doubts the barrenness of the social life in our schools 
let him read as I have done in this the past few days the reminiscent 
records of students now in the university in which they narrate their 
experiences in the elementary schools. They tell of a dreary round of 
lesson learning with a little variation here and there as to the stimuli 
used, all of which were classed as either personal rewards or personal 
punishments. It was all summed up admirably by one student who 
said: "We always had text-books, and definite lessons were learned 
each day and recited, as it seems now, to the teacher because we invari- 
ably looked at the teacher while reciting and tried to see some mark of 
approval on her face." In the entire series of papers there is not a 
single instance noted when there was any attempt made to establish 
relations of helpfulness among the pupils themselves. There is, how- 
ever, considerable mention of various means employed, by the teacher 
to keep the pupils in a state of isolation from each other. As a matter 
of fact some of the most elaborate and artistically stupid parts of the 
school machinery have been especially devised for the purpose of keeping 
pupils from mutual assistance; whereas, the thing above all else de- 



i22 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

mancled in society at large is that its members shall help each other to 
the utmost. The only places where mutual helpfulness is not recog- 
nized as being in every way worthy is in school and in prison; in this 
particular the teacher behind the desk and the guard mounted on the 
walls have something in common. It is most unfortunate that this 
tendency toward mutual assistance is treated as though it were an 
iniquity — as an especial brand of original sin; while, in fact, it is the 
latest dawning and most lovable, civilizing trait in human character. 

The proposition to transform the school into a well-organized social 
institution is not merely a matter of abstract theory or pure science. It 
is a definite expression of a movement to make the schools in common 
with other agencies a positive force in bettering the conditions of life. 

This proposition rests upon the foundation stone in human charac- 
ter that up to date has been rejected by the educational builders — 
namely, the natural tendency of children toward helpfulness. The 
spirit of consideration and helpfulness is what we most need in human 
life and the schools must cherish it in the children and train directly 
for it. The kindergarten, here as ever, is the best type of what we want 
in school life clear through the university. Go into any good kinder- 
garten and note how gladly the children participate in the many op- 
portunities for cooperation in living their simple and beautiful life. 
Go then into the upper grades, and into the high school, and into the 
university and observe how one by one those opportunities for partici- 
pation in the upbuilding of the public weal have been withdrawn and 
mark the degenerative effect of this loss of opportunity upon the social 
qualities of the pupils ! 

There are in this country many universities that number from 
1,000 to 5,000 students each year. These young people represent a 
virile period of human life, when hope is young, aspirations are keen 
and the will is dominant. But when taken in their totality, in their 
power or in their desire to organize as an influence upon any phase 
whatever of human affairs, they are as innocuous and as ineffective as 
a flock of sheep on a sunny hillside in April. There is not a university 
president, nor a professor, nor a university department of sociology, to 
my knowledge, that has ever yet organized the splendid native force 
of a great student body towards any public end that is worth the atten- 
tion of an intelligent man. Nor does the student body itself show any 
such disposition to organize. The highest watermark that has yet been 
touched in fusing together the community forces in the great universi- 
ties is represented by the college yell for the foot-ball team ! No other 
state institution could so completely withdraw these thousands of young 
people from a consideration of the interests of public welfare. 

Even in darkest Eussia, with every influence against them, with 
no public school system, where blackest ignorance is the rule with the 



SCHOOL ORGANIZATION AND INSTRUCTION 123 

people, the student bodies in the universities represent perhaps the 
most powerful hostile influences with which despotism must contend. 

This shows the power of student life when it organizes itself under 
the whip of a great, purpose, and it mercilessly exposes the enormous 
moral loss to society and the delinquencies of an educational theory 
which permits any diversion of these forces of youth from the work 
of upbuilding the social and national life. 

The economic vandalism of our time can be charged to no one per- 
son or thing; but responsibility for it may be laid directly at the door 
of a school system which permits this social deterioration to begin in 
the earliest years and thence onward to increase in a steady ratio 
throughout the higher institutions of learning. 

All schools, however, have always had some social life of a more 
or less organized character. In the plays and games outside of school 
hours; in the stolen whispers of the study and recitation periods; in 
the clandestine schemes laid for the discomfiture of the teacher; in 
the literary societies, and in many other ways, through the exercise 
of their social instincts, the pupils have managed to make their school 
days tolerable for themselves and, to a like extent, often intolerable for 
the teacher. But these aspects of school life have been, and still are, 
considered as diversions, as incidents and somewhat as detriments to 
what is called, in school parlance, the ' regular work.' It is largely due 
to this fact that in most schools the socializing process as yet remains 
inchoate. 

There is a misconception, almost universal, concerning the organiz- 
ing center of the school as a social body. Eecognizing that in the 
past the chief organizing influence has come through the exercise of the 
play instinct, the unguarded inference is that it is now proposed to 
socialize the school through play alone; or, what comes to the same 
thing, by the introduction of work which shall be turned into play ! 
It is through this perverted idea that the New Education stands charged 
with triviality in its methods and with a disregard for that robust 
discipline which comes through sturdy and purposeful work. Nothing 
could be farther from the truth. Students in the philosophy of edu- 
cation are slowly coming to understand that the spelling-book, as such; 
that the endless repetitions which usually accompany ' formal number ' ; 
that the struggle with words merely for the sake of a vocabulary in 
reading; that the wrestle with technical grammar as an introduction 
to the study of language — that all these and other subjects of like kind, 
as they generally appear in the schools, are essentially unsocial in their 
influence. Such students believe that herein lies a great obstacle to that 
reform which seeks to socialize the schools. If, however, this so-called 
work is to be removed from its present dominating position in the 
curriculum, it is as yet inconceivable to most people how there can be 



i2 4 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

anything to take its place except play. It is only too true that in many 
schools where the old technical drills have been discarded, the teachers 
have been unable to find anything worthy to take their place, and there 
at once develops a tendency towards inferior social types of organiza- 
tion. These lower social units taking root readily in a school where 
many of the old arbitrary means of control have been abandoned, in- 
evitably become immediately inimical to the broader interests of the 
school as a whole. In this condition of affairs we find that raison d'etre 
for the fraternities and sororities in the high schools. 

The prime necessity in the social organization of the school is that 
there shall be an abundance of those activities which are capable of 
yielding tangible results in worthy products having a common interest. 
The distinction usually drawn between the activity of play and the 
activity of work has neither meaning nor value in terms of growth. 
Both play and work may be good or bad, educative or otherwise; that 
depends alone upon the motive. The infallible test is found in the 
character of the output; it is a measure that anyone may apply with 
ease and directness when education is conceived to be a concern of the 
familiar things of life. 

An educational activity with an organizing value is one which 
expresses itself through some helpful work. This is not a machine- 
made definition — it depends upon the nature of things. It is rooted 
in the fact that every child is a born worker and a lover of work. To 
work, to do things, to bring about results, useful and beautiful, is just 
as natural as it is for him to breathe the air. There are no lazy 
children, naturally. Catch them young and treat them right, and they 
are all workers and lovers of work. A lazy boy is merely either one 
who is sick, or one who does not like to do something which a ' grown- 
up ' thinks he should do; his indisposition, if not a matter for the 
physician, should be placed to his credit. A big boy came to my office 
one day who was too lazy, the teacher said, to be allowed to remain 
in school. I asked him what he would like to do if he were left entirely 
free to choose, and he replied : ' I would quit school and go to work ! ' I 
thanked him — inwardly — for his criticism, over which I have since 
deeply pondered. Doubtless the 'work' which this boy would be able 
to pick up in the streets would be as little to his taste as were the 
tasks left behind in the school. For the average employer rarely con- 
siders the soul-life of the employed. He stands a good chance of 
falling into the hands of a man who wants to get more gold out of dry 
goods and groceries than nature has put into them and he tries, there- 
fore, to make up the deficit out of the boy. So between the teachers 
who do not know enough and the business men who do not care enough 
the lazy boys are easily turned into the path of the transgressor. Lazi- 
ness is the merciful invention of nature, whereby she holds them 



SCHOOL ORGANIZATION AND INSTRUCTION 125 

for a time at the parting of the ways, and enables them during this 
period of wavering to escape the stupidity of the schools, on the one 
hand, and the heart-breaking conditions of business on the other. 

It was a bad day for education when it got itself placed over 
against work; when it made work a penalty for the stupid and a 
punishment for the perverse who would not allow education to be 
breathed into them — and education is just finding out its colossal 
blunder. Figures from the fourth grade up show that, when it is 
solely a question of school or work, it is work that wins the contest, 
hands down. Of the hosts that enter the primary grade, practically all 
the children of all the people, by far too small a per cent, finish the 
eighth year; of these a still lesser per cent, go to the high school, and 
beyond this there is scarcely more than a negligible minority. This 
absorption of child-life by the world's work all takes place in the face 
of modern educational theory, our advanced views of culture, our legal 
enactments, and the truant officer ! 

Any fair test applied to a school will show two things: first, that 
the pupils are capable of far more productive work than is now called 
for and, second, that they are anxious for more of it. This fall this 
question was put to about two hundred. pupils from the sixth grade up: 
If the building were open to you after school, would you like to stay 
for extra work? What would you like to do and how much time 
would you use? In the replies received all but twelve or fifteen said 
they would like to stay from one half hour to two hours on from one 
to four days a week. The range of choice was practically all among the 
arts and crafts. Work in the wood shops was most popular, there 
being about sixty applicants for this, while work in metal, in clay, in 
textiles, bookbinding, printing, gymnastic dancing, photography and 
many others had a strong following. 

Yet education is not wholly a matter of tasks. This is the pitfall 
that catches most of our critics who contrast the old with the new. If 
education were the result of tasks arbitrarily imposed; and if the old 
set tasks for the pupils that were difficult enough to hold them to the 
top notch of effort; and if the new levied only those that were so easy 
that the pupils became dawdlers, then the apostles of the present 
regime in school would have it their own way. But here is the differ- 
ence that is world wide. The new, while rejecting the idea of imposing 
tasks arbitrarily, seeks to establish conditions which challenge the 
personal initiative. The old over-emphasizes attainment as a quanti- 
tative result : The new values attainment only as it represents a quality 
of mind that has acted through its own initiative. The old recognized 
as training and discipline the so-called voluntary attention which 
seemed to be mainly the ability to stare, ox-like, a disagreeable, unin- 
teresting or unintelligible thing out of countenance. The new believes 



i26 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

in the training and discipline that come from the pupil's effort to 
follow up from premise to conclusion, something which mightily in- 
terests him because of its worthy purpose. The old found satisfaction 
in a state of mind that was quietly receptive; the new sees hope in the 
turbulence of inquiry; and all of these are irreconcilable differences 
in kind. 

When the work of the children springs from their own initiative, 
it will become essentially creative and not imitative. The theory that 
the educational process is imitative and not creative especially in the 
earlier and formative years of childhood is as old as psychology itself 
and in practise the proposition stands almost unchallenged. The 
average curriculum is formed on the idea that the pupils are imitators, 
the followers of directions, and not creators and it is consequently 
imposed. The daily lessons in scope and character, the methods of the 
recitations, the modes of expression are all prescribed and all the 
activities of the school are reduced as nearly as possible to that monot- 
onous routine known to the devotee of system as ' regular work ' which 
offers no play for the creative intelligence in either thought or deed. 

The constructive idea now being realized in various forms of hand- 
work is the thin end of the wedge that is opening the way to reform. 
Anything which involves the hand immediately arouses the creative 
instincts. Much of this work is still of the illustrative type, merely 
reproductive or imitative and in the beginning it was all of that char- 
acter. In wood, for example, the ' exercises ' were all once manacled 
to a set of models that made no claim upon creative powers either 
through their use or beauty. 

At present, nearly all subjects in the curriculum make some appli- 
cation of the constructive idea. The lessons of history are vivified by 
reproducing typical creations of other days. Science becomes somewhat 
more real by the performance of experiments set by book and teacher. 
Mathematics has been improved through its applications to prescribed 
construction. Something of both the technique and the spirit of art 
is acquired by reproducing the work of the masters. This all repre- 
sents a distinct improvement upon the old regime of books and lectures, 
and such exercises will always form an organic and necessary part of 
an educational system. 

But the high-water mark in school-teaching will be reached only 
when such work becomes secondary because it is supplementary and 
subsidiary. Only when the dominant note of the school is clearly cre- 
ative does it lay direct hold upon the vital and continuous interests of 
the children and become essentially educative. 

This is true regardless of subject-matter or material on the one 
hand, and age or sex on the other, and to this fact some curious school- 
room phenomena are due. Parents frequently marvel that the boys of 



SCHOOL ORGANIZATION AND INSTRUCTION 127 

1 all ages delight in cooking and textiles, while the girls are equally 
interested in woodwork and other forms of heavier manual training. 
The reason, however, is clear. It is not that there is anything inherent 
in either the dough, or the cloth, or the wood, or the iron, but rather 
because the work under all these heads is largely creative. It is because 
an aim is set up that is unique; it is somewhat new because it is per- 
sonal — it is because the ages-old materials must be combined to fit new 
occasions that the interest is enlisted and the best original efforts, and 
consequently the highest educational results, are obtained. 

Every creative activity will have its artistic aspect; for when the 
soul enters a creation, then and there art is born. Art-forms are now 
rarely creative. They do little more than tickle the sense with the 
pleasures of a fleeting hour — and they are worth all they cost for that ! 
But when the lives of the children are properly enriched, music, paint- 
ing, drawing, sculpture, and the rest will come forth as creations — the 
radiant allies of speech. In language growing fluent and supple, the 
pupils will learn to wreathe in descriptive, dramatic and poetic forms 
the subtlest creations of which the human mind is capable. 

Creative work transforms the individual. Through it, alone, he 
grows and maintains a personality that makes him different from 
others. Through it, alone, his generation rises above all that have pre- 
ceded. Imitation is a training in conformity. It holds the creative 
instincts in abeyance until at maturity it is the exceptional man or 
woman who is not hopelessly bound by the shackles of convention. If 
he would ever create, he must override the prejudices ground into 
him by the schools, and, even then, the daring freedom of childhood 
but rarely comes again. The gospel of conformity teaches that the 
best has been done — that naught remains for us but imitation. This, 
too, in face of the practical fact that the discoveries of to-day have sent 
to the scrap-heap the brilliant inventions of yesterday! The effect 
is not less marked in the realm of morals. Generally speaking, the 
ethical code of the school has been copied from that which once served 
the purpose of the generation that developed it, but it is far below what, 
under present conditions, the pupils can create for themselves. 

The final test as to the value of any piece of educational work in 
the development of children of whatever intellectual capacity is de- 
termined by their appreciation of its worth in meeting a natural de- 
mand. Unless their energies are constantly directed toward filling a 
recognized want, the pupils put forth their efforts in vain, and the 
routine of the school becomes merely the rattle and grind of empty 
machinery. Upon one trait in his pupils the teacher may forever 
reckon : they will always respond to a need which they can really feel 
and understand. A study of our city parks showed how impossible it 
was for certain useful and beautiful birds to find suitable nesting- 



128 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

places in the trees and shrubs. Forthwith practically every pupil in 
the school volunteered to make boxes for the nests. Whether the 
smaller children could make an entire box or not mattered but little; 
the strength of their want through a real sense of the need, coupled 
with the little they could do, added cubits to their moral stature. 

A practical difficulty in the way of teaching children to realize 
their motives in some useful end, is that to many people it looks too 
much like common work; there are parents, therefore, who strenu- 
ously object. They say their children can get that at home, and that 
the school should stand for something else — for culture ! This is a 
curious fact, in view of the glorification that labor is now receiving at 
the hands of the people. However, the large storekeepers do say that 
this great revival of enthusiasm for labor has not as yet appreciably 
increased the demand for overalls and jumpers. No one has reported, 
so far, that the cuts of these elegant and useful trappings of toil are 
appearing in the latest fashion plates of our high-class tailors. From 
this it may be inferred that with most people the labor question has 
not yet gone beyond the stage of academic discussion. Hence the 
difficulty of getting the pupils actually to work either in school or at 
home. Last year the children wished to have blooming plants in their 
school-room windows. They thought to improve matters by substituting 
for the unsightly pots the more beautiful creations of their own hands 
which they could easily make in the clay-room. Immediately a parent 
wrote that if our pupils could find nothing better to do than to make 
jardinieres to beautify the University of Chicago he would take his 
son from the school — and he did ! The kind of school which this type 
of parent really wants is one where his boy can insensibly acquire 
curvature of the spine, a sallow complexion, spectacles, and — culture ! 
We have trade and technical schools that give education for the sake of 
labor; we must now have schools that give us labor for the sake of 
education. 

To sum up, therefore, the resources of the school which the teacher 
may utilize in the development of a social organism we have on the 
part of the pupils (1) a natural spirit of helpfulness; (2) an inborn 
love of work; (3) a desire to take the initiative; (4) an ambition for 
creative work; and (5) an alertness of mind toward public" needs. 
Upon these foundation stones the social structure must be reared. 

That these qualities of character may be normally developed, the 
curriculum must provide an abundance of suitable material; the class 
exercises must keep to the forefront matters of public interest and the 
entire organization must offer a maximum of freedom to the individual 
who thinks and works in the interest of the common welfare. Every- 
one recognizes these elements of character as being those which give us 
the highest type of citizenship in the community at large. It is inter- 



SCHOOL ORGANIZATION AND INSTRUCTION 129 

esting and pertinent to inquire why they do not give corresponding 
results in the school. People generally seem to understand that the 
school should reflect the interests of the community, but the traditions 
of the school are such that the instant an industry or an art is intro- 
duced into the schoolroom the tendency is to erect it at once into a 
' subject of study.' This means to the average person that it must have 
its special teacher, its arbitrary place on the program, and in other 
ways take a definite setting in the curriculum. Now, there is a vast 
and an essential difference between this kind of so-called organization 
attempted by the school, and the actual organization which takes place 
in true community life. If, for example, under normal conditions, in 
the latter, a wagon is to be made, the various activities that contribute 
to that particular end are so correlated as to combine efficiency and 
economy. Everybody's efforts are directed to that result. There is 
just so much wood needed and no more. A premium is placed upon the 
endeavor to use as little as may be consistent with the character of the 
wagon desired. The same is true of the iron work — no more bolts or 
bands are made than are actually needed. So, also, it is with the paint ; 
what the wood needs for its preservation and adornment is used, and 
nothing beyond. But bring these industries into school as 'hand- 
work/ and we find only so many more ' subjects of study ' that in some 
way must be juggled into an already overcrowded program; only so 
many more teachers that are to increase the wear and tear in already 
overwrought children. It is no longer a question of doing just as little 
as is needed, but as much as possible ! It is as though the wagon-maker 
were to go ahead blindly and make a dozen wheels where only four 
can possibly be used ; as though the blacksmith should forge a hundred 
pieces of iron where but twenty are needed ; and as if the painter should 
demand forty hours for his work when five would be altogether ade- 
quate. We are in an incipient stage of development, where there is 
insufficient attention given to the relation between demand and supply. 
The work generally in any particular subject represents the strength 
and the personal push of the teachers, or the reverse. If by superior 
wit, or by greater cunning, or by sharpness of tooth or strength of 
claw the ambitious teacher is able to get a lion's share of the program, 
his particular subject may be correspondingly magnified, even to the 
detriment of all others. 

If the school is to approximate still further the ideals of community 
life it is necessary that there should be a more flexible adjustment of 
the workers to each other and to the thing to be done. The grouping 
and distribution of the pupils should be based upon the nature of their 
work. The school grade as now generally constituted is a pure fiction 
in philosophy but it is a stubborn and unreasonable fact in practise. 
Under the domination of the grading system, the school reverses or 

VOL. lxx. — 9. 



130 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

ignores most of the principles that control people in practical affairs. 
Under its operation, it compels the teacher to lay the greater emphasis 
upon the similarities among pupils, and to ignore differences, and it 
places a premium upon uniformity. The more closely the school grade 
approaches its ideal, the more strictly must each pupil work for him- 
self; while the closer we approximate the grouping required by the 
social ideal, the more earnestly must the individual strive for the whole. 

The school grade aims at a certain dead level of uniformity in 
three things, namely, age, knowledge and skill. These rigid conditions 
have imposed the stamp of their own arbitrariness upon the selection 
of subject-matter and methods of instruction, and they render it im- 
possible to realize the highest ideals of social and civic life in the 
school. The grading system was established long before child-study 
opened the eyes of teachers, and it represents the quantity idea in edu- 
cation as opposed to that of quality. 

In school, not all of the teaching is done by the teacher ; the younger 
children are constantly learning from the older. Experience shows 
that when pupils have the opportunity to organize themselves for work 
they form groups which in many instances utterly ignore the age limits 
set by the grade. The younger pupils gain in skill and knowledge, and 
the older have lessons in consideration for others and in responsibility 
that in a graded system must remain forever untaught. 

It is equally undesirable to grade pupils on the basis of equality of 
knowledge. Outside of school such an aggregation of people would be 
considered a stupid company, with but little chance for improvement. 
It would distinctly improve the situation to bring together in some 
common enterprise pupils who differ widely in both knowledge and 
experience. This applies especially where the pupils are employed in 
doing rather than in talking. The less capable learn from those who 
know more, and the latter will learn to work from the strongest stimu- 
lus that can move anyone — the necessity of making knowledge immedi- 
ately intelligible and available for others. The nearer the conventional 
grade is approximated, the less there is of such a motive; for a simi- 
larity of knowledge makes each one useless and uninteresting to every 
other. 

The same argument applies against the requirements for a parity 
of skill. Every pupil has a certain skill of his own, and his work 
should so relate him to others that he may make the most of it. He 
need not be ' graded ' with those having equal skill in the same direc- 
tion. This point finds illustration in the building of a house. In this 
there may be six or eight different kinds of workmen employed. No 
two have quite the same skill, in no two is it required. Each one does 
what is needed and what he is best able to do. The group is so 
organized that the house-building progresses rapidly and well; but the 



SCHOOL ORGANIZATION AND INSTRUCTION 131 

organization bears no resemblance to that arbitrary aggregation known 
as a ' grade.' 

The effect of the present grading system upon the treatment of 
subject-matter has been pernicious. It has led to endless attempts at 
cross-sectioning subjects, in order that certain portions may be trimmed 
down to fit the pigeon-holes of the grades. This is reflected in thou- 
sands of text-books, and there is scarcely a subject that has not been 
marred by the ill-advised analysis. 

The evils of arbitrary grading are not less marked in their effects 
upon the teacher. The notion that each grade must have its method 
is most persistent at the two extremes — the kindergarten and the high 
school. Those entering a course of training for the kindergarten are 
loath to trouble themselves with what lies beyond; and the would-be 
high-school teacher is apt to regard a suggestion that he look into the 
nature of elementary instruction as a reflection upon his intelligence. 

The influence of the grading system upon the pupil is necessarily 
bad. It retards his progress through the elementary school, and it 
fosters selfishness. In the wake of the grade, trail many evils that fret 
the children. Not the least of these are the marking system and formal 
examinations, which have done more to introduce and foster knavery 
during the impressionable years of childhood than all other agencies 
combined. Under such unphilosophic and arbitrary stimuli to action, 
it matters not how hard he may try, no pupil can grow up wholly honest 
or unselfish. 

Grouping of pupils under the ideals of the new education rests 
upon a principle radically different from that which now prevails. 
Under the old ideals, the children must exert themselves to excel each 
other. Under the new, members of a group must exert themselves to 
help each other. In the former, the work is so planned that each must 
strive for the same thing — the very same bone ; in the latter that — as in 
the building of the house — the best effort of each is a needed con- 
tribution to the welfare of all. Each, therefore, must encourage and 
support the other. It is the operation of this principle that at once 
divides the light from darkness, that lifts civilization out of barbarism, 
that filters righteousness from iniquity, and that will finally give us 
the ideal school. The problem of grading and grouping of pupils 
will be solved when the children are permitted to plan work for them- 
selves that demands cooperation. It must be for an end that no one by 
himself can attain, that, in school as well as out, the principle may be 
established that no one can live unto himself alone. That is the su- 
preme fact in democracy. 

The reorganization of the schools on the basis of community life 
makes an imperative demand for a new type of trained teachers. 
Academic training has been amply provided for and it hereafter will 



132 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

be assumed. The past generation has done practically all that need be 
done to place within easy reach of every intelligent teacher whatever 
it is necessary to know concerning special methods. Within the same 
period the subjects of psychology and child-study have been thoroughly 
worked over, and the results have been fully and clearly presented. 
This part of the teacher's training, hereafter, will not become of lesser 
importance, but it will be more and more assumed as a preliminary to 
the newer training which the public is now demanding. The greatest 
need of the schools is teachers who have the power to reach the public 
mind. The power to teach the children will be taken for granted. 

The new type of training will not be found in a further elabora- 
tion and intensification of book study and theoretical discussion; nor 
will it appear in a further development of specialization as that is 
now commonly understood. It will be based upon actual 'field work' 
carried on in the community at large. That is, the teachers in training 
must study the needs of a community as they manifest themselves in 
its daily life; they must, in fact, in some way become actual partici- 
pants in that life. No other kind of training will ever equip prospective 
teachers to answer questions which the public is now asking. The 
school must go into the service of the community more directly, and 
the community must open itself up more freely to whatever service the 
school can render. 

Up to the present time the training schools for teachers are all 
modeled upon the plan and after the ideals of the older educational 
institutions of an academic type, and these, in their turn, grew out 
of the cloister. The training schools for teachers, on the contrary, 
should be modeled rather upon the plan of the so-called social settle- 
ment, and the ideals of the teacher must become more nearly allied to 
those of the settlement worker. Every school should be so organized 
as to draw all the people together for the purposes of work, of study, 
and of recreation, as the public library now attracts people who wish 
to read. To this end, the studios, the workrooms, the laboratories, and 
the libraries of the schools should be open under the supervision of the 
teachers, as public libraries are under the librarians, to suit the con- 
venience of the people. They should be open at least as many hours as 
the saloons. A training school for teachers that could place its pros- 
pective graduates for at least a year in such intimate relations with 
community life as the settlements afford would give them the best 
possible preparation for undertaking with the people the joint task 
of educating the children. This does not mean, of course, that such 
training can be acquired only in the reeking and congested districts 
of the cities. Every locality in city, village, and country, should offer 
some opportunity for the practical training of teachers in the science 
and art of working with people. The teacher should take a leader's 



SCHOOL ORGANIZATION AND INSTRUCTION 133 

part in the debate of every question that relates to human welfare. 
It is only by the most active participation in public affairs that he can 
keep himself in proper training for the task of teaching the people's 
children. 

The coming era of education will be marked, not by its material 
resources, but by its teachers. Our school houses are good enough; 
now let there be trained teachers, then we shall have schools. Such 
teachers will be equipped, of course, with knowledge; but above all 
they will be trained in discernment — in the power to see and appre- 
ciate the fundamental things of human growth and in its output of 
character. They too must work with the children, not alone for them, 
and be creative; to create they too must be free. The present system 
that grinds and chafes at every move was developed under archaic 
ideals; it has become antiquated and in large measure useless. The 
organization of the schools must grow out of the professional necessities 
of the teachers, the greatest of which is that even the poorest shall be 
free to put the best of himself into his work. Under such conditions 
every teacher and every child will become a positive creative moral 
force in the upbuilding of the social structure. 



i34 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



m SEAECH OF TRUTH 1 

By Professor DAVID STARR JORDAN 

STANFORD UNIVERSITY 

A T the January meeting of the Astral Club at Alcalde, Mr. Arthur 
-*--*- Grimshaw, of Berkeley, the newly appointed science teacher of 
the Alcalde Union High School read a curious and interesting though 
revolutionary paper on the ' source of knowledge.' His title was 
' What is Truth ?' This paper was highly appreciated by the club as 
the example of the best results which can be attained on the material 
plane of thought. The author's failure to rise to the heights of astral 
conception was however painfully evident. It is plain that in the 
laboratories where his training was secured all esoteric sources of truth 
have been ignored. But as the Astral Club of Alcalde, though I say 
it who should not, is nothing if not open-minded, it shall be the duty 
of the secretary to transfer to this record the substance of this young 
man's views on the tests by which truth may be known. 

Mr. Grimshaw began by a discussion of the significance of ' philo- 
sophic doubt' whereby men question the only things they know to be 
true, in the hope of proving the reality of things they know are not 
true. For if you can show that truth and falsehood are identical in 
the one case, it lends probability to the theory that falsehood is truth 
in other cases. On this general argument are founded many forms 
of modern philosophy and of ancient philosophy as well. Mr. Grim- 
shaw said : 

" What I mean to show is that all truth is truth so far as it goes. The 
things we know to be real are real and we are not deceived in believing 
in them. The proof of the reality of an object, the truth of a proposi- 
tion lies in the fact that we can accept it and translate it into action, 
into life. If it were not true we could not act upon it. Acts based 
upon it would sooner or later put an end to existence. 

" The real nature of an object before us may make little importance 
to us. It may be solid rock or empty vapor, if we choose to let it alone. 
But the moment we form relations with it its reality becomes a vital 
matter. If it is a rock or an apple, then rock or apple it is in all its 
relations. If we view the apple as something essentially different from 
what it is, there will be similar errors in our thought of other things. 
If we are deceived as to the rock we shall have unsound notions as to 
other things. 

1 Being further extracts from the Journal of the Astral Club of Alcalde. 



IN SEARCH OF TRUTH 135 

" Poisons would seem as foods, foods as poisons ; pleasures as sins, and 
sins as pleasures. The whole sanity and accuracy of life would be de- 
stroyed. For the security of action is conditioned by the exactness of 
our perceptions of the relations of external things and by the correct- 
ness of our reasoning in regard to these perceptions." 

Mr. Grimshaw, falling back on the lore he had learned in school, 
said: 

" In psychology the term reality is sometimes applied to a sense per- 
ception which is based on an outside influence acting then and there. 
In this sense the reality is not the external influence itself, but our 
direct or normal perception of it. Thus, the impression made by the 
sound of a gun would be a reality when the pressure' of air waves reached 
the brain, though the explosion may have taken place some seconds 
before. This reality as it comes to the brain should bear a definite rela- 
tion to its source. In other words it must give the mind such informa- 
tion that the actual occurrence may be correctly interpreted. On its 
correct interpretation the fitness of our response in action must be 
conditioned. The term e common sense ' is applied to the normal work- 
ing of these brain processes. An external stimulus produces a reality. 
The reality is transmitted to the brain where it is considered in its 
proper relations. Afterwards an impulse to action passes along the 
motor nerves to the muscles, which are the servants of the brain. 

" In simple matters, as those pertaining to the apple, the dictates of 
common sense are obvious enough. The feelings are not moved by an 
apple, and our recognition of its nature is clouded by no illusions. But 
there are many relations in life in which ' common sense' does not find 
the problem so easy. If we examine the actions of ourselves and of our 
fellows, we shall find that the ' common sense ' of different men does 
not act in parallel ways, and what seems to one wise or natural becomes 
grotesque or absurd to another." 

Mr. Grimshaw then gave a number of illustrations of thought or 
action in which the 'common sense' may be deceived: 

" You are in a railway train which is waiting on a side-track. 
Another train comes in sight, its motion seems transferred to your own 
train, but in the opposite direction. This motion continues until the 
other train has passed. It ceases suddenly, when you can almost feel 
the jolt of its stopping. But from other observations you know that 
your train has not moved in all this time. 

" This is a simple illusion, easily corrected by the mind before it 
passes over into action. Let us look at some others. The story is told 
of a merchant who, smacking his lips over a glass of brandy, said to 
his clerk : ' The world looks very different to the man who has taken a 
good drink of brandy in the morning.' ' Yes,' said the clerk, ' and he 
looks different to the world, too.' Now, which is right? Is the world 



1 36 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

different that it looks brighter ? So it seems to the man's own ' com- 
mon sense.' Or is the difference subjective only, in the man himself, 
who has lost his bearings to the outside world ? 

" The revered sage of Los Gatos, Brother Ambrose Bierce, tells the 
story of a man who visited a naturalist in San Francisco, and remained 
over night as a guest. The naturalist was fond of snakes and had 
several of them in the house. When the visitor retired at night he 
looked under the bed and found a great coiled serpent, who watched 
him with glittering eyes. These eyes made some strange impression on 
him, and in the morning the people of the house found their guest 
kneeling on the floor, dead, his open eyes still staring in horror at the 
thing under the bed. This thing was the stuffed skin of a kingsnake 
with two shoe-buttons for eyes. The ' common sense ' of the man told 
him that the snake was charming him, and in the belief that he was 
charmed to a horrible death he must have perished. If he had not 
believed that snakes have the power to ' charm ' and to kill, surely he 
would not have died. 

" It is said that a ship once landed on a barren island in the Pacific 
Ocean. Its passengers brought with them the materials for a house, 
which they set up, to the surprise of the natives who had never seen 
a wooden house before. They put in it blankets and cooking utensils, 
and after a day or two they set up near the house on a solid foundation 
a long tube through which they gazed by turns at the sun. After 
watching the sun for a single day, they hastily returned to the ship, 
carrying the long tube and the blankets, but leaving the house and 
everything else of value on the island. The delighted natives took 
possession of the house and they hold it to this day. But they look in 
vain for the return of the foolish people who left it there. 

" Men who have traveled in Mexico tell me that all along the coasts 
of Sinaloa, people are engaged in digging for buried treasures under 
the direction of men or women in San Francisco. These people have 
never been in Mexico, but they are said to have the power of seeing 
clearly objects not before them, in any part of the earth. There is 
a very old legend current which tells that a pirate ship, hard pressed 
by the Mexican soldiers, landed on the Cape of Camarron near Nazatlan, 
where the buccaneers hastily buried a vast treasure of silver, after which 
they all fled. A man is engaged to-day in boring a tunnel into solid 
granite and lava to find the treasures thus laid away. A woman, in a 
shabby Sacramento Street boarding house, claims to see in her trances 
the inner secrets of the mountains and directs all these operations. Our 
common sense or our experience may condemn the whole operation as 
ridiculous but the transit of Venus seemed equally absurd to the local 
critics who occupy its abandoned shelter. 

" One man takes a forked rod of witch-hazel, and, going over a tract 



IN SEARCH OF TRUTH 137 

of land he feels the fork twist downward at a certain point. He digs 
there and finds a well of living water. If there is much water the 
rod turns more vigorously or even turns the other way. Another uses 
the same rod and finds coal, iron, gas or building stone — whatever he 
may seek. To do this he has only to attach to the branch of the rod a 
small fragment of that which he would seek. Thus a dime may 
be attached if one is seeking for silver, a five-dollar gold piece if one 
looks for gold. In California where there is no witch-hazel the moun- 
tain willow serves the purpose best, because there is water in its make 
up. But even the madrono or the azalea can be used in an emergency. 
A man once tried to bore for gas on a certain tract of land in southern 
Indiana. He engaged a soothsayer with a witch-hazel rod. But the 
wizard, finding the territory too large to be gone over in this way, 
makes a little rod, parlor size, and taking the map of Vanderburg 
county, goes over it with the instrument. The result was just as satis- 
factory. He chooses a point on the map, they bore the well in accord- 
ance with the rod's directions. Plenty of gas is found, which proves 
the accuracy of the method. As Lord Bacon once observed ' men mark 
when they hit, but never when they miss.' Still another man wishes to 
find the material of which a star is made. He takes a tube of metal 
with lenses and prisms of glass and turns it toward the star. Speedily, 
by means of lines and streaks on the prism he has his answer, and the 
composition of a vast sun, so far away that the light which left it in 
the days of Cassar has never yet reached us, he describes with confidence. 
Then he turns his tube on the Pole Star and tells us that it is made 
of two stars, one a great sun which we can see, and the other a smaller 
sun which we have never seen and which we can never see. Is all this 
real? If the spectroscope tells the truth where it speaks in such bold 
fashion, may we not trust the witch-hazel, too, in its more modest 
claims ? 

" An astronomer traces the course of a far-off planet and finds that 
its orbit bends a little from a perfect ellipse. From this fact he con- 
cludes that another planet must be coming near it to attract it. He 
goes to work to determine the size of this other planet and the place 
in which it ought to be. When his calculation is finished the telescope 
is turned toward this place, and the unseen planet is there. If the 
mathematician through his instruments be thus sensitive to far-off 
matter in infinite space, may not the clairvoyant through her sensitile- 
projectile astral body be equally sensitive to a mass of silver? 

" Once in a trance a finely organized adept or ' medium ' wandered 
in her astral body through the open belt where the souls of the planets 
wander at will. While there she heard the comet-shriek, the cry of a 
lost planet soul, the most terrible sound that rings through the heavenly 
spaces of the zenith. Is not her testimony to be received with that of 
the other astronomers? 



138 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

" From shore to shore across the Atlantic Ocean runs a metallic 
cable. By means of electric batteries, magnets and sparks, a message 
is conveyed from one end of this to the other. Messages have been 
sent so many times that the most sceptical can not doubt the fact. By 
such means a wanderer in any part of the world may be found and 
called home, or if need be, sent still further on. Most of us have seen 
this done and all have heard of it. Because it has grown familiar it 
seems real to us, and its mystery is dissipated. But why use the 
metallic cable at all ? What occult power lurks in metal ? Why must 
we work always on the material plane? Why not use the air? And 
indeed the air has been used and with wonderful success. But let us 
not stop here. Why not use the invisible ether, along which so many 
forms of energy are propagated ? Why not use the boundless sympathy 
of life ? In Europe there is a large species of snail which runs up and 
down the cabbages feeding on their leaves and is very fond of its mate. 
It too has been used in telegraphy. Leave your sweetheart in Italy 
when you come back home but leave her with a large piece of card- 
board and take another like it for yourself. On each of these write a 
number of sentences of sentiment and affection — quotations from the 
poets, the finest possible to your literary taste, Browning, Tennyson, 
Wordsworth, or the latest topical song — any of these will do. Then 
take for yourself one of a devoted pair of snails, leaving the other with 
her. At an agreed moment (standard time, making allowances for 
differences of longitude) place your snail upon the card and she will 
do the same with hers. Your snail will creep to any sentiment you 
choose as you direct it. Hers is left free in its movements, but it will 
follow the same course that its mate has chosen. Thus the sweetest 
messages can be sent across the ocean. The last word of the snail in 
America, ' All's well,' or ' Non ti scordar di me/ can be made to echo 
sweetly on a far-off shore. This is the Parasilinic Telegraph, no in- 
vention of mine, but the actual work of an ingenious i psychic adept.' 

" But why use the snails ? Surely their cold slimy bodies are not 
more forceful than the throbbing heart and eager brain of man. 
Surely they are not more sensitive than his astral form. Let the snails 
go. «They belong to the crude beginning of astral science. You have 
only to sit in your room alone in darkness, and by intense thought and 
irresistible volition you may set the whole ether of the world in pal- 
pitation with your dreams and desires. 

" To your thought the c sensitive ' you love will respond. Her astral 
brain will register your ether throbs. e It is my wish ' : that is enough 
for her. But you can do more than that, if we may trust the records. 
Your own astral body may be sent across the ocean on the tremulous 
ether and it will appear to her in her dreams or as part of her realities. 
While the absence of this body may be a slight inconvenience to you, 



IN SEARCH OF TRUTH 139 

for you must sleep or suffer while it is gone, it will be a source of joy 
to her. It may plead your cause for you in a way which protoplasmic 
bodies can never imitate. That this is not imagination or illusion 
we have abundant testimony, if the word of man unverified by instru- 
ments of precision is convincing to you. Thought and ideas, we are 
told, may be ' impressed on consciousness in solid chunks without wait- 
ing for words or clicks or other means of expression or for a lightning 
train to convey them/ and there are thousands of records to show how 
this is done. 

" But you do not stop with the expression of your power over the 
ether and the astral messages it is the function of the ether to carry. 
You may exert control over matter itself. Mind is matter's king. 
Matter is the vassal of mind. Then under the force of mind, matter 
will change or vanish. Eecent experimenters claim that by gazing 
at a photographic plate in the dark, an impression can be made on it. 
This is the mind flashing out through the human eye. Then whatever 
is in this ' mind's eye' should appear on the sensitive plate of the 
camera. But greater deeds than these were done long ago, as our 
honored president once pointed out, and to my mind they are told in 
records better authenticated. The sagas tell us that Odin wished to 
secure the golden mead of the giants that men might drink it and be 
strong as they. After great labors he came to the mead. He found 
that the giant Suttung had concealed it in a great stone house, to which 
Odin could get no key. So Odin and his friend the giant Bauge sat 
down before the house and gazed at its walls all day. By this means 
they made a small hole in the rock, and changing himself into an 
angle worm Odin entered the hole and at last carried the golden mead 
away in triumph. The influence of this golden mead is, no doubt, still 
potent in Odin's descendants whose glances have marvelous power. 

" There was once a California nurseryman who had a good business 
and was making money, as the phrase is. So he put aside all the fruit 
trees which would sell and devoted himself to making others which 
would not. Each year he trimmed his plums and apricots and lilies 
and poppies, taking away the pollen which nature had provided and 
putting it on flowers to which it did not belong. Each year he planted 
thousands of seeds of many kinds, and when the plants came up, he 
pulled up nearly all of them and burned them in a great bonfire. 
Meanwhile he made no money, and lost little by little all that he began 
with. Then men began to see that all fruits and nuts and flowers 
changed under his hands. The plums grew very large and very juicy, 
red, blue and white and more on the tree than men had ever seen before. 
The lilies and the poppies and all the other flowers grew larger, the 
cactus lost its thorns and the onion its odor, the chestnut bore its fruit 
with its second crop of leaves and all things which he touched turned 



i4o POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

into something better or handsomer, and every year he pulled up nearly 
all that he had and burned it in great windrows. And foolish people 
said that he was a wizard and they came from great distances to see 
him at his work. And there were a few who thought that they under- 
stood. 

" There was once an old white-haired man who came to an as- 
semblage of scholars, bringing with him two bars of wood connected 
by bands of iron. Fifty-three years before he had left his home on 
the bay of Quinte, in Ontario, to show these bars to the world and to 
give to mankind what it never had before, control over ' The Uncon- 
ditioned Force of the Universe.' This force through this little ma- 
chine would ' revolutionize human industry, economize human labor 
and relieve human want.' ' Gentlemen,' said the old man, ' I gave 
up the free and easy life of the Canadian forests, I sought my home 
among the dwellers of cities, I have sacrificed fifty-three years of my 
life upon the altar of my desire to benefit mankind. In three weeks 
more my invention will be perfected and through these bars the un- 
conditioned force of the universe will do its works for you and for me. 
The time has gone by,' he said, ' when the recognition of my principle 
would have pleased my ambition. I love my race, and I wish to do 
them good.' Two years more went by, the unconditioned force lacked 
but a few days — just one more week — of accomplishment, and in that 
week the old man died in the poorhouse of Monroe County, Indiana, 
and in the dust and cobwebs in an attic of a neighboring college the 
model of the machine to be controlled by the unconditioned force of 
the universe still awaits the touch which for the first time shall make 
it run ; and there were some who called the old man a ' wizard,' and 
some a ' philosopher,' and because fame has forgotten his name, I 
speak it here — Eobert Havens. And in both these cases, and in all 
cases, what is our test of truth? 

" Not long ago, on the plains of Texas, by order of the government 
of the United States, tons of gunpowder were exploded. A great noise 
was made, the smoke arose to the skies, and then all was as before. 
The purpose of this was to produce rain under conditions in which 
common sense said rain was impossible. While these conditions re- 
mained there was no rain, but the wisdom of the experiment has the 
official stamp of the United States. 

" Not long ago, and I am sure that the good people of Alcade will 
remember this, some enterprising men had bought the dry bed of a 
river in southern California. It is filled with winter floods in the 
rainy season, while in summer it is white with granite sand and barren 
stones. At best its boulders can only produce a scant growth of chap- 
paral and cactus. Yet when it was announced that a city was to be 
built on this land, men grew wild at the thought. All night they 



IN SEARCH OF TRUTH 141 

stood in the streets of Los Angeles, each to take his turn in buying its 
town lots. And the people who bought these lots were guided in one 
way or another by what they termed their ' common sense.' The sense 
of great wealth was in the air, and even the wisest were carried away 
by it. ' The millionaire of a day ' takes the breath of his brother 
millionaires. 

" At Denver not long ago a man insisted that he had the gift of 
healing. A wild hermit from the plains; some called him crazy and 
some called him a prophet. But the gift he had, or seemed to have, 
and thousands of sick people and well crowded around him to be 
touched and healed. He could not touch them all so he blessed their 
handkerchiefs, and his power passed over to them. Men and women 
whose ills gallons of patent medicines had failed to assuage were healed 
at once by these pieces of soiled cloth. And testimonials such as they 
had once written for these same patent medicines, they now freely 
wrote for him. 

" But, after all, is there such a thing as disease ? Surely man 
e made in the image of God ' is made in the image of perfection, and 
what is perfect can not be marred or destroyed. May not disease be 
the greatest of illusions? May not all pain be a nightmare dream 
from which we should escape if we were once awakened? 

" Many a school of healing has been based in one way or another 
on these propositions. In a hundred different ways at a hundred dif- 
ferent times men and women have found that they could heal pain by 
the suggestion that pain does not exist. If pain is disease, then shall 
we not heal all diseases in this way? But some say that pain is not 
a disease, only a warning that disease is present or coming. Pain is 
the signal that something is going wrong in the mechanism of the 
human body. The signal may be unnoticed it is claimed. We then 
feel no pain but the injury remains, for it is the cause of the pain and 
not the pain itself. By persistently turning the mind away from these 
signals of distress sent up by the bodily organs, we may come at last 
to be incapable of receiving them. We are then free from pain, and 
our minds may be filled with a sweet serenity very satisfactory to our- 
selves. Now, which of these is true? Are we ill when we feel pain, 
well when we do not? Or do we feel pain because we are ill and does 
the illness pass when our feeling is gone ? May it not be true that this 
is a dangerous and selfish serenity ? If it does not mean the checking 
of disease, but only the closing of our eyes to its ravages, then have we 
really gained anything? To turn from pain is to turn from all out- 
side impressions. To close the mind to the information given by the 
senses is to destroy reality, to make activity impossible, to cease to do 
our duty in the world. This is to cease to grow and to become a bur- 
den to our friends and a cumberer of society. There is nothing more 



i42 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

noble than serenity amid trouble and distracting effort. There is 
nothing more selfish than the serenity which is bred by immunity from 
pain. But to many people, existence without pain, without sensation 
and without action represents an ideal of the soul. Many well-to-do 
women of leisure are devoting their lives to the cultivation of this 
condition, and incidentally neglecting their children and driving their 
husbands wild by the process. It is not alone faith in a theory of 
disease or a theory of non-existence which may produce this result. 
Faith in a celery-compound, an electric belt, or a mud idol may produce 
the same sweet serenity, the same maddening indiffeience to all that is 
real or moving in life. The walls of certain churches in Mexico are 
covered with the offerings and pictures of those who were saved by 
their vows or by appeals to some saint. ' But where,' said Lord Bacon, 
long ago, ' are the pictures of those who were lost in spite of their 
vows ? ' 

" It is true that to cultivate a cheerful temper, to look on the bright 
side of things, to laugh when we can and be hopeful under all conditions 
is good for the body. The food is better assimilated, the blood runs 
faster, one can do more and better things, and come in closer relations 
with the realities of life. But conversely, when one meets most man- 
fully the needs of life, his pulse beats more quickly, his brain works 
better, his liver gives him less trouble and he is naturally cheerful and 
hopeful. The cheerful man does not dodge pain, he overcomes it. He 
does not selfishly shrink from reality and turn to introspection and 
dreaming. He faces the world and makes it his own and takes man- 
fully the pain his efforts cause or which in the progress of life he can 
not avoid. 

" It is possible to go much farther in the direction of the banish- 
ment of pain through the thought that pain does not exist. Then take 
more pain and it will become at last an intense pleasure ; when the mind 
is in the grasp of absolute torture, it is possible for the brain to feel 
it as with spasms of absolute delight. It is not easy to do this but can 
be produced by excessive belief in the unreality of common things. The 
brain half-maddened by pain is open to suggestions from other mad- 
dened brains till a fierce wild ecstasy is the final result. This fact 
explains the strange rites of those sects of self-destroyers which rose in 
the middle ages, the flagellantes, penitents and the rest. Even yet, the 
last of the penitent brothers at San Mateo in New Mexico in the passion 
week torture themselves in the most revolting fashion by crucifixion, 
whipping and the binding of huge cactuses on their backs. By hideous 
tortures they expiate in one week their many heinous sins of the whole 
year. Just as the suggestion that disease is an illusion may conceal 
pain, for those who give up everything else for healing, so does the sug- 
gestion of infinite pleasure conceal for a time the most exquisite pain. 
But in the one case, as I believe, the disease goes on unchecked, so in 



IN SEARCH OF TRUTH 143 

the others, the wounds of the whip and the cactus stab remain as reali- 
ties when the illusion of joy has passed by. 

" In Orange County, California, there is a religious sect which finds 
the old Bible of our race, the Bible of Moses and Job and Jesus and 
Paul, an outworn book, no longer fitted for the aspirations of man. 
This bible is still tinctured with the gospel of selfishness, for it recog- 
nizes private ownership of land, and goods and men. ' To honor thy 
father and mother ' implies special ownership of them, and the higher 
life demands that there should be no respect of persons. There can be 
no personal claims of any sort if all are to be as ' angels in heaven.' 
Its command ' thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods ' implies the 
neighbor's ownership of material things, a relation which must degrade 
all who submit to it. ' To render unto Caesar the things which are 
Caesar's ' is an outworn recognition of powers that be but which ought 
not to be. Clearly a new bible is needed, and one of the members of 
the sect sat down by a typewriter (presumably not his own property) 
and wrote a bible. It was not his own composition, but that of the 
Almighty, for the writer simply lent the hands with which divine 
power did the work. As his fingers played over the Remington keys, he 
thought of anything or everything except his writing. The result was 
the book of Oahspe, the Bible of this new dispensation. And the name 
of the book arose naturally. One looks up to Heaven, and he says ' Oh/ 
then he looks down to earth and says ' Ah/ and between Heaven and 
earth is Spirit, — Oahspe ! 

" In the City Park of San Francisco is the wooden image of some 
monstrous creature carved by the Indians of Queen Charlotte Sound to 
express some phase of their mystic devotions. This image was stolen 
by a Norwegian sailor. Its makers resented its loss by a series of 
incantations so horrible that they took effect in the image itself. The 
idol came to San Francisco, bringing sickness, shipwreck or failure to 
all who touched it. Even now while it rests on a shelf in the Park 
Museum in apparent quiet, its evil power is shown at night in the 
smashing of vases and the overturning of bottles. Something of this, 
kind takes place whenever the image is left unguarded. A man who 
had charge of it for some time avers that one night the creature rose 
up in living form and seized him in its clutches, and only by the most 
violent efforts could he make his escape. 

" When an electric current, whatever that may be, is passed through 
a glass tube from which most of the air has been exhausted, various 
peculiar phenomena are shown. There is an appearance of bluish light, 
and from certain parts of the apparatus peculiar rays are given off 
which do not appear as rays at all. Ordinary light rays pass readily 
through water, glass or crystal, and we call these objects transparent. 
Through wood or cloth or stone they will not pass; hence these objects 
are said to be opaque. And the rays of light may be diverted from 



i44 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

their course by passing at an angle from one transparent body to 
another. This property, known as refraction, is the cause of the 
formation of images by convex transparent bodies or lenses. But, 
strangely, the rays of light above mentioned do not act like ordinary 
light. All objects are transparent to them, though not in equal degree. 
Not being stopped by dense bodies they are not refracted. Not being 
affected by lenses they do not produce vision in the eye. As we can 
not see them to the eye they are not light. But their effect on chemical 
decomposition is the same as that of light. Hence while not available 
for vision they can be used in photography. But not being refracted 
they produce no definite image on the sensitive plate. But they may 
give rise to shadows. They do not pass through all opaque objects 
with equal readiness. Hence to place an opaque body between the rays 
and a sensitized plate would be to cast some kind of a shadow on that 
plate. The shadow means an arrest of the chemical changes which are 
the basis of photography. Then if the opaque body be not in all parts 
of equal density the shadow becomes deeper in some places than in 
others. This gives on the photographic plate some idea of the intimate 
nature of the object photographed. For the density is not merely a 
matter of the surface of bodies. It pertains to the interior, which in 
an opaque object can not be seen, but which nevertheless may be photo- 
graphed in this fashion by these peculiar rays. 

This line of investigation was lately developed in experiment by 
Professor Eontgen, and the strange character of the i X-rays ' or 
' cathode rays ' is now a matter known to every one. By means of these 
non-refracting rays, shadow photographs can be made showing the bones 
of the skeleton, imbedded bullets, the contents of a pocket-book, or any 
similar hidden object which has a nature or a density unlike that of its 
containing surface. These experiments of Eontgen have been varied 
and verified in every conceivable way. A wonderful mythology is 
growing up around them, to the confusion of those who have not paid 
attention to the series of experiments which made Eontgen's discoveries 
simple and inevitable. 

" For example, in a thousand places the Eontgen rays and the 
bacilli of disease are made to work together to fill the purse of the 
enterprising physician. The doctor examines the internal organs of 
the patient with the fluorescent tubes. He finds out how and where 
the germs of disease are working their devastation. Then he turns the 
mysterious X-rays upon these germs and they are checked in their 
career of ruin : shrivelled up, it may be, under this marvelous light, as 
caterpillars shrivel on a hot shovel. Another physician I know of 
distributes his remedies by electric wire, one end in the bottle and the 
other in the mouth of the patient, miles away. Still other physicians, 
wise in their generation, use the X-rays and the microbes and the elec- 
tric currents with other mysterious agencies equally for their own profit 



IN SEARCH OF TRUTH M5 

or comfort. Now that the X-rays have become somewhat familiar and 
matter of course, the still more wonderful emanations of radium are 
made to do the same things and in a fashion equally regardless of the 
lessons of chemistry and of physiology. The medicine man of the 
Modocs by other incantations of his own calls up the microbe of disease 
which he finally spits out, a trout perhaps, or a wood-boring grub or 
a small lizard — from his own mouth. There have been occult and 
esoteric methods in medicine since the first Old Man of the Mountains 
learned to look wise. The rabbit's foot for good luck, the cold potato 
for rheumatism, celery for the nerves and sarsaparilla for the blood are 
typical methods as old as humanity. But quackery and pretense does 
not diminish our debt to honest medicine and surgery however much it 
may tend to obscure it. Some one asked Dr. Mesmer, the great apostle 
of animal magnetism, which was the form taken by ' faith cure ' in the 
last century, why he ordered his patient to bathe in river water rather 
than in well-water. His answer was that ' the river water was exposed 
to the sun's rays.' When further asked what effect sunshine had other 
than to warm the water he replied, ' Dear doctor, the reason why all 
water exposed to the rays of the sun is superior to other water is 
because it is magnetized — since twenty years ago I magnetized the sun ! ' 

" I see in the Alcalde Gazette that Madame de Silva, a prophetess 
and seer of visions, seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, born with 
a caul, down at the American House, is prepared to diagnose all diseases 
from the examination of a lock of hair, and that Wong Chang, the 
Chinese doctor, is prepared to do the same and ask no questions. How 
does this differ from the power of Cuvier to draw a bird from a simple 
claw or that of Agassiz who could restore a whole fish from one scale ? 

" Throughout the middle ages experimenters of all grades were 
engaged in the task of finding the means by which base metals could be 
transmuted into gold. It was possible in the chemical laboratory to 
do many things which seemed equally difficult and to the common mind 
far more mysterious. Jn the philosophy of the day, and perhaps in our 
own time as well, there was every reason to believe that the transmuta- 
tion of metals was possible. But it never was accomplished and many 
a learned alchemist went to his grave, the work of his life a confessed 
failure. 

" Yet this very day, the daily press, which is responsible for so much 
of spurious science and mental confusion, gives the record of successful 
alchemy. One famous metallurgist of world-wide reputation (all these 
men have ' a world-wide reputation with one another'), has subjected 
silver to great pressure till it becomes yellow, soft and heavy just like 
gold. All the difference is in the density — 16 to 1. Condensed silver 
is gold, so the newspaper maintains, and the problem of alchemy is 
solved at last. By these experiments, six ounces of silver make but 
VOL. lxx. — 10. 



146 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

four ounces of gold, one third of the substance being somehow lost in 
the process. But with improved appliances this third should be saved 
and the finances of the world may be reconstructed on a basis of 
genuine bimetallism, gold being made when wanted from the condensa- 
tion of silver. Yet all-important as this discovery should be, neither 
chemistry nor finance pays any attention to it. It belongs to the science 
of the newspaper having only the validity of a ' fake advertisement/ 
' Common sense ' demands that the experiments be verified and the 
steps which led to them be made known before considering for a moment 
the probability that there is any truth in the newspaper statement. 

" Now how amid all the wonders of science, non-science dreaming, 
f akery and insanity is the common man to find his way ? How shall he 
recognize the claims of science among all the other voices and noises in 
this vociferous world? 

" This is my answer, and I believe that it is the answer of science. 
As to many things the common man may not know at all. Where he 
is not concerned in any way so that error and truth are alike to him 
because they can not affect his action, he may be powerless to decide. 
It is not always important that he should decide. ' I do not know ' is 
the affirmation characteristic of the wise man. It is safe to believe 
mildly in mahatmas and norms and hoodoos and voudous if one does 
not regulate his life according to this belief. The vague faith in proto- 
plasm, in natural selection or in microbes which the average man 
possesses will serve him no better if it is put to no test. The difference 
appears when one acts upon his belief. The nearer one's acquaintance 
with molecules or protoplasm, the more real and more natural do they 
appear. The microbe is as authentic as the cabbage to one engaged 
in dealing with it. Protoplasm is as tangible a thing as wheat or 
molasses. But the astral body and the telepathic impulse become the 
more vague the nearer we approach them. They are figments of the 
fancy, and their names serve only as a cover for our ignorance of the 
facts. The charm of such words as Karma, Avatar and Kismet lies 
in the fact that most of those who use them have no idea of what they 
mean. Lack of meaning or ignorance of meaning lies at the founda- 
tions of most occultism. Scientific induction in its essence is simply 
common sense. The homely maxims of human experience are the 
beginnings of science. To know enough ' to come in when it rains ' is 
to know something of the science of meteorology. By scanning the 
clouds we may know how to come in before it rains. By observing the 
winds we may tell what clouds are coming. By studying the barometer 
we may know from what quarter the winds and clouds may be expected. 

" The discoveries of science are made by steps which are perfectly 
simple to those trained to follow them. No discovery is made by 
chance in our day. None come to contradict existing laws or to dis- 
credit existing knowledge. The whole of no phenomenon is known 



IN SEARCH OF TRUTH 147 

to man. The whole truth never can be. Ultimate truth was never 
in any man's possession. The unknown surrounds on all sides all 
knowledge in man's possession. The beginning, the end and the rami- 
fications are beyond his reach. He was not present when the founda- 
tions of the universe were laid. He may not be present when they are 
destroyed. But scientific knowledge, though limited, is practical and 
positive so far as it goes. It rests on experiment and observation alone. 
Every step in observation, experiment or induction has been tested by 
thousands of bright minds. He is already a master in science who can 
suggest even one new experiment. There is nothing occult or uncanny 
in scientific methods. The e magic wand ' which creates new species 
of horses or cattle lies in the hand of any stock-breeder. The magic 
key of the electrician by which the foam of the cataract becomes the 
light of the city may be held by any municipal council. To take the 
illustrations given above, ' there is such a thing as a squash,' because 
the assumption that the squash exists constitutes a safe basis for action. 
On that hypothesis you can plant squashes or raise squashes or make 
them into pies. The brightness of the brandy-colored world we can 
not trust. It requires no scientific instruments of precision to record 
the failure of the man who guides his life on a basis of impressions 
made by drugs or stimulants. 

" The transit of Venus is no product of fancy. To the astronomer 
the coming of the planet between the earth and the sun is as certain a 
thing as the coming of the earth into its own shadow at night. The 
one incident is more common than the other, but not more mysterious. 
And to go to that part of the earth which is turned toward the sun at 
the moment of transit is the simple common sense thing to do if one 
wishes to see the transit. The island, the abandoned hut and the cook- 
ing utensils were only incidents to the astronomer. To the natives 
these were the only realities and the purposes of sciences were to them 
unknown or absurd. To the man of common sense the digging for 
treasure under the direction of clairvoyants seems ridiculous. The 
operation does not become more wise when we see it through the eye 
of science. Tested by instruments of precision, ' clairvoyance ' be- 
comes a myth and such truth as its phenomena contains is explainable 
in simple ways. 

" The spectroscope grows more real and more potent as we study its 
methods and results. The divining rod is only successful through 
ignorance or fraud. The process of weighing planets is open to all 
who will continue their studies till they understand it. The test of 
knowing is doing. The oceanic cable in the service of all who have 
concerns in another continent. It hides no mystery save the one 
eternal mystery of matter and force. The phenomena of telepathy 
have fled before every attempt at experiment. The study of the ' X- 
rays ' is as far from occultism or spiritism as the manufacture of brass 



148 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

is from the incarnation of mahatmas. The mind healer, the faith 
healer, the curative theories of 'neminism/ the sale of the patent 
medicine, the medical marvels of radium, the wonders of the electric 
belt and the power of animal magnetism are all witnesses of the potency 
of suggestion in the untrained mind. To the same class of phenomena 
the witch-hazel rod belongs. Experiment shows that its movements 
are the involuntary muscular contractions and that these follow simply 
the preconceived notions of the holder of the rod. 

" If, as some one has lately said, all men sought healing from the 
blessed handkerchief of the lunatic or from contact with old bones or 
old clothes, if all physicians used ' revealed remedies ' for the remedies 
nature suggests for each disease, if all the supposed ' natural rights ' 
of men were recognized in legislation, the insecurity of such actions 
would speedily disappear. The long and bloody road of progress 
through fool-killing would for centuries be traversed again. Without 
the instruments and methods of precision which belong to science we 
should find ourselves in the weakness and babyhood which was the 
heritage of the common man through the middle ages. 

" In the degree that ' organized common sense ' or science, has been 
a factor in the lives of men and nations, men and nations have been 
happy and effective. The ultimate function of science is the regula- 
tion of human conduct. 

" Not long since one of our sciosophical friends proposed the theory 
that the chemical elements were each of them forms of ' latent oxygen.' 
This theory he defended by the argument that the business of science 
was to propose all sorts of theories. As some apples on a tree will be 
sound so will some of these theories be true. To make every con- 
ceivable guess is the way to hit on the truth. Some such notion as this 
is common among cultured people of all countries. To accept it is to 
ignore the whole history of science. No advance in real knowledge 
has come from guessing, dreaming or speculating. If we want a pic- 
ture taken we find a man who has a camera and who knows how to use 
it. If we want the truth on any subject we must find a man who has 
the instruments or methods of precision and who knows how to use 
them. There is no other way. As well expect a man without a 
camera and who knows not how to use it if he had one to take a photo- 
graph as to trust to a speculator, guesser or dreamer to find the truth. 
To work without tools, in the world of objective reality, can yield only 
illusion and fraud." 

At the conclusion of the address, President Marvin expressed the 
thanks of the Astral Club for the bold and straightforward declara- 
tion of materialistic principles. But at the same time he could not 
refrain from reminding Mr. Grimshaw that he was still very young 
and that there were many things in heaven and earth and Devachan 
which are not yet taught in the schools. 



IS MAN AN AUTOMATION 149 



IS MAN AN AUTOMATON? 

By Professor GEORGE STUART FULLERTON 

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY 

IT' EW things are more irritating to the average man, who does not 
-*- pretend to be a philosopher or a scientist, but respects the 
opinions of such, than to be told, by those whose word seems to carry 
authority, that he must regard himself as an automaton. 

He has been accustomed to consider his own mind and the minds 
of his neighbors as of no little significance in the system of things. 
He says that he rose early, because he knew he had a long day's work 
before him; he took his bath, because he knew it was good for his 
health; he went to the dining-room, because he wanted his breakfast; 
he ran for the train, because he did not care to lose five minutes wait- 
ing for another; he whistled, that the conductor might hear him and 
might be induced to delay a moment; he climbed the stairs to his 
office, because the elevator seemed to be intolerably long in coming. 

So it went all through the day. He did things because he wanted 
to, or because he thought he had to. Other men about him did things 
for the same reasons. His whole day seems to have been full of 
thoughts and feelings, plans and decisions; nor can he bring himself 
to believe that, had these been different, his actions and those of 
other men would have been what they were. So unequivocally does his 
experience appear to testify to all this, that it does not even occur to 
him to raise a question, until some professional questioner suggests a 
doubt. 

But he spends the evening of such a day in his library, and, as 
he turns over the pages of certain volumes of scientific essays, his eye 
is caught by Professor Huxley's statement that " our mental condi- 
tions are simply the symbols in consciousness of the changes which take 
place automatically in the organism." If he is startled by this, his 
mind is by no means quieted when he turns to Professor Clifford and 
reads : " Thus we are to regard the body as a physical machine which 
goes by itself according to a physical law, that is to say, is automatic. 
An automaton is a thing which goes by itself when it is wound up, and 
we go by ourselves when we have had food." 

To be sure, each of these writers softens the blow somewhat. Hux- 
ley tells us that we are conscious automata ; and Clifford says that the 
body is not merely a machine, because consciousness goes with it. 
Nevertheless, this does not seem to make good the previous wrong. If 



150 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

a man tells me that I am an imbecile, and then modifies the statement 
by adding that I am a particular kind of an imbecile, it still rankles 
in my breast that I am an imbecile; and I am naturally impelled to 
inquire into the justice of applying the title to me at all. I may not 
call a young lady a doll, and then soften the blow by explaining that I 
have somewhat extended the signification of that common word. One 
has" a right to ask : Is the word, when so extended in meaning, rightly 
applied at all? Are dolls that think and speak, feel and will, and all 
the rest, really dolls? If not, why use the word, except as a figure of 
speech, and with insulting intent? 

Now, it would be absurd to maintain that Huxley or Clifford or any 
other serious adherent of ' the automaton theory ' has written with the 
intention of insulting or degrading mankind. These men had a 
glimpse of what they regarded as a valuable scientific truth, and they 
urged it upon the attention of their fellows. In doing so, however; 
they made use of expressions which have actually given offence to 
many, and have predisposed men to a rejection of their doctrine. I 
feel like going further and saying that the mere fact that they have 
seen fit to use such expressions may be taken as an indication that they 
have not fully grasped the significance of the truth they were endeavor- 
ing to express, but have themselves slipped into a misconception, which 
has harmed their cause. 

I may say at the outset that I regard the cause as a good one. This 
does not in the least mean that I believe in any ' automaton theory/ 
The name is a grotesque and an offensive one, and should never have 
been used. The plain man is quite right in refusing to regard him- 
self as an automaton. The real cause for which the so-called autom- 
atists, have been fighting is a clear and unambiguous conception of 
the relation between the mental and the physical — one which will not 
rub out the distinction between the two, but will do it full justice. In 
the present paper I shall try to show that the frank acceptance of their 
fundamental thesis need not make a man an automatist at all; nor 
need it compel him to modify the estimate which his experience has 
led him to form of the significance of men's actions. In other words, 
the man may become as ' scientific ' as he pleases, without on that 
account being forced to repudiate common sense and common experi- 
ence. Surely this is no small gain. 

We all have experience of the relations which obtain between mind 
and body, or we should not even know that we have minds and bodies. 
But those who have not devoted special attention to psychology and 
philosophy are apt to have the vaguest of notions as to what the 
relations in question are. We have, to be sure, gotten beyond the crude 
materialism that once led men to regard the mind as consisting of five 
round atoms, disseminated through the body, and inhaled from the 



IS MAN AN AUTOMATION 151 

atmosphere. But I am not sure that most persons would not be in- 
clined to maintain that the mind is in the body ' somehow ' — and when 
we inquire into the significance of this * somehow/ we can scarcely fail 
to discover that it has a material flavor. Whether rightly or wrongly, 
most men think of the mind as in the body in somewhat — but only 
somewhat — the same way as material atoms may be in the body. And 
he who thinks of the mind in this way may, if the question occur to 
him at all, assume that mind and body interact somewhat as two ma- 
terial things interact with each other. 

To be sure, the more one reflects upon the difference between mental 
phenomena and physical, the more vague and indefinite this ' some- 
what ' seems to become. Material things can lie beside one another in 
space; they can approach one another and recede from one another. 
Their interaction is a thing to be described in physical terms ; we have 
to do with space and motions in space. Have we anything analogous 
to this when we are considering, let us say, the mental image of a rail- 
way station and those physical changes in the brain which antecede my 
moving my feet in the direction of the station ? Is the mental image 
literally in any part of the brain? Can it approach or recede from 
any group of molecules? Does it mean anything to say that it lies 
between this physical occurrence and that? And if the relation be- 
tween what is mental and what is physical is really so different from 
the relation between two physical things, must we not recognize that the 
word ' interaction ' is ambiguous when it is applied indiscriminately 
to either relation? 

As early as the seventeenth century reflection upon the differences 
which distinguished the mental and the physical led to the conclusion 
that it is impossible that ideas should be inserted as links in any phy- 
sical chain of events. You can not plant an imaginary tree in a real 
ten-acre lot ; you can not insert the thought of a cork into the neck of 
a real bottle; is it more sensible to say that the thought of a railway 
station may be inserted as a link in a series of changes in the nervous 
system of a man ? To such men as Huxley and Clifford it seemed that 
the physical series must be regarded as unbroken. Clifford, much in- 
fluenced by the philosopher Spinoza, describes the relation between 
physical changes in the brain and the accompanying ideas as a 
' parallelism/ as a correspondence or concomitance. It is scarcely 
necessary to add that neither he nor any later parallelist has intended 
the word c parallelism ' to be taken literally. It only means that mental 
phenomena are to be regarded as excluded from the series of physical 
changes, and yet as accompanying them. 

Now, I think we may leave out of consideration those who endeavor 
to steer a middle course — to eat their cake and, at the same time, to 
keep it. The question is: Is the series of physical changes to be re- 



152 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

garded as unbroken, and are mental phenomena to be looked upon as 
the invariable concomitants of certain physical changes; or are the 
two classes of facts to be built into the one series? Those who accept 
the first alternative are parallelists, and those who accept the second 
are interactionists. 

Naturally, there is a lively quarrel between the two sects. The 
parallelist insists that the interactionist has no clear notion of what 
he means by interaction, when he uses the word ; and he maintains that, 
did the interactionist realize his position, he would see himself to be 
little better than a materialist. He has failed to recognize the great 
distinction between mental phenomena and physical. On the other 
hand, the interactionist insists that the parallelist, in declaring the 
series of physical changes to be unbroken, has reduced the mind to a 
position of utter insignificance. Every action can be accounted for by 
going back to its physical causes, and to those alone. The mind, then, 
is a mere decoration; it does nothing; the man is a physical autom- 
aton, etc., etc. 

I am not going to try to persuade any one, in this paper, to become 
an adherent of either the one sect or the other. But it does seem 
rather hard that those who watch the combat should be led to suppose 
that, with the triumph of the one party, they are condemned to be- 
come materialists, and, with the triumph of the other, they are turned 
into automata. It is distressing to be confronted with Scylla and 
Charybdis, and to see no clear water between. 

What I wish to prove is that the whole matter is one to be re- 
garded with no other emotion than that of intellectual curiosity; and 
that it does not matter a particle to the plain man, from the practical 
point of view, which side wins. 

First let us assume that the interactionist is right. Then ideas and 
motions in matter may be regarded as belonging to the one series — 
they are links in the one chain. Now, one can not piece out a defective 
series of sounds by the insertion of a smell ; one can not, when one tree 
in an avenue has died, replace it by a tree in a dream. To constitute 
a series, in any significant sense of the word, things must have some- 
thing in common; it must mean something to speak of gaps and inser- 
tions. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that it does mean 
something here, and that ideas are enough like motions in matter to 
be inserted between certain motions in matter and to form one series 
with them. 

This may be a form of materialism; but what of that? The man 
whose day has been full of ideas, of desires and volitions, of plans and 
purposes, has had just the day that he has had; and the fact that all 
these are called material or semi-material does not prevent their being 
just what he has experienced them to be. If some material things can 



IS MAN AN AUTOMATION 153 

be like this, and can play such an important part in his life, he should 
get over his repugnance to materialism, or at any rate to some sorts 
of materialism; and he may go on thinking and talking about himself 
and his neighbors much as he has thought and talked in the past. It 
is not worth while to be frightened by a mere word; a cold in the 
head is not made worse when it is given a Latin name. 

It may be said, it is a waste of time to try to protect men against 
the fear that interactionism may be proved true, for men have no dread 
of this result, as it is. This I think we must admit. Those who are 
familiar with the history of psychology and philosophy know that 
there was a time when it was not repugnant to men to conceive the 
mind as literally a kind of matter, having its place in the body just 
as any other kind of matter has its place. Gradually it came to be 
felt that this was a misconception, and various curious attempts were 
made to describe the mind as immaterial. To-day nearly every one 
is willing to say that the mind is immaterial — the conception has be- 
come common property. Nevertheless, he who is clear-sighted can 
see that most men have not wholly stripped away materialistic sug- 
gestions inherited from the past; and he finds these embodied in the 
interactionist doctrine. As, however, interactionism does not ask the 
plain man to be more materialistic than he is naturally inclined to 
be — every one can find a comfortable seat in so roomy a place as a 
' somehow ' — it does not arouse his apprehensions. So I shall not 
spend more time in allaying fears which do not arise in most minds, 
but shall turn to the ' parallelist ' doctrine. Its supposed terrors con- 
stitute our proper theme. 

Let us suppose that the parallelist is right. Then ideas and motions 
in matter must be regarded as belonging to two distinct series, and 
they must not be made links in the one chain. Thus, a pin is thrust 
into my leg; I reach down to it and pull it out with my fingers. A 
series of changes has taken place in my body. Some message has been 
sent from my leg, along certain nerves, to the brain, and a message has 
been sent along other nerves to the muscles of my arm and hand. But 
this does not say everything. I have felt a pain; I have been con- 
scious of the injury done my leg; I have wished to remove the pin; 
I have resolved to do so, and am conscious that I do it. The physical 
series is an unbroken one; the mental phenomena are concomitants 
of brain changes, but fill no gaps between them. 

Now, if we admit all this, must we sadly accept the following 
doleful results? 

1. Man must be regarded as an automaton. 

2. Man's mind is insignificant; as his body does all that is to be 
done, we may say that the result would have been the same had he 
had no mind. 



154 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Hence, we ought to abandon our usual ways of thinking and 
speaking about ourselves and others. 

If these results actually do follow from an acceptance of parallelism, 
men may well feel apprehensive when they see able men advocate it. 
If none of them follow, there is small cause for apprehension, and the 
question becomes one of merely scientific interest. 

Let us consider the first point. Must the parallelist regard man 
as an automaton? 

Before one can decide this point intelligently one must know what 
the word ' automaton ' means. He who consults his dictionary is in- 
formed that it means ' that which is self-moving, or has the power of 
spontaneous movement, but is not conscious.' A little lower down it is 
explained to him that the term more specifically denotes ' an apparatus 
in which the purposely concealed power is made to imitate the volun- 
tary or mechanical motions of living beings, such as men, horses, birds, 
fishes,' etc. He is further given to understand that the word may be 
applied to ' a person or an animal whose actions are purely involun- 
tary or mechanical,' or to a person who acts ' without active intelli- 
gence, especially without being fully aware of what he is doing.' 

Do any of these definitions cover the case of the man described in 
the first paragraphs of this paper? Was he without consciousness? 
Was he constructed to imitate the actions of a living being? Were 
his actions involuntary? Did he go through his day without active 
intelligence? Yet the definitions are very fair, and do not misrepre- 
sent the actual use of the word defined. Even in psychology, when we 
speak of i automatisms,' we never have in mind a shrewdly planned 
raid upon the bourse, or the production of Caesar's ' Commentaries.' 

The fact that I choose to pin my faith to one view of the relation 
between mind and body rather than to another gives me no right to 
wrest words from their proper uses and to employ them in ways that 
must be misleading. Normal man is not an automaton in any legiti- 
mate sense of the word; and it is a grave injustice to parallelism to 
call it ' the automaton theory.' To be sure, Clifford and others have 
invited the injustice which has been visited upon them, and we can 
scarcely pity them as much as though it were wholly unmerited. But 
the frankest adherence to their parallelism need not induce us to call 
man an automaton. To say that consciousness is ' parallel ' to brain 
changes is not equivalent to saying that consciousness is not present 
at all, or is present in defective measure. 

And now for the second point. Must the parallelist regard man's 
mind as insignificant, and say that his actions would be the same if he 
had no mind? 

Surely not. Bear in mind what parallelism maintains. It main- 
tains that mental phenomena and certain cerebral changes are invariable 



IS MAN AN AUTOMATION 155 

concomitants. This means that a given idea can not exist unless there 
is a certain brain-change. But it also means that the brain-change 
in question can not possibly exist unless the corresponding idea exists. 
The relation between the two is not conceived to be an accidental one. 
For reasons which have been indicated, the parallelist objects to calling 
it a causal relation, and prefers the word ' concomitance.' Nevertheless, 
he regards the relation as one on which we may depend absolutely — 
as absolutely as we can depend upon the relation between a physical 
cause and its effect. 

But, if this is so, the plain man may perfectly well become a 
parallelist and yet go on talking as though certain results could not 
be brought about in the absence of minds. He is quite justified in 
maintaining that no clever book could ever be written, no such day 
as his has been ever lived through, by a creature without a mind. 
He may, if he choose, leave to the scholar by profession the question 
whether the word ' cause ' is not somewhat loosely used in common life. 
What he cares about stands firm on any hypothesis: ideas are signifi- 
cant; if he can work out a satisfactory plan in his mind, desirable 
results will be achieved ; if he has not the ideas, the results will *D.ot 
follow. 

Now for the last point. Should the parallelist abandon our usual 
ways of thinking and speaking about ourselves and others ? It must be 
admitted that the words used by some parallelists suggest, at least, that 
he should do so. 

" An automaton is a thing that goes by itself when it is wound up, 
and we go by ourselves when we have had food." The suggestion 
certainly is that, if we want men to function, we should feed them. 

It has been known, of course, from time immemorial, and in every 
country under heaven, that men who get no food at all will soon cease 
to go; and it has been known also that men who get too much drink 
will first go irregularly and then not at all. It is an old secret that 
what goes into the mouth of a man is not a matter of indifference. 

But did any man, parallelist or interactionist, ever try to control the 
actions of his fellow man in detail by the giving of food? or try to 
explain why Mrs. Smith visits Mrs. Brown and neglects Mrs. Jones, 
by investigating the diet of that discriminating lady? We can not 
explain her taking the longer walk through the park rather than the 
shorter one along the street, by pointing out that she has legs. If she 
were unprovided with these members, she would undoubtedly not walk 
at all; but her having them does not enlighten us as to her choice of 
a walk, nor does it give any key to the control of her actions. 

Clifford himself never tried to make men e go ' by the administra- 
tion of food; he wound them up by public lectures and by printed 
essays, when he wanted them to think as he did and to act as he wished 



156 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

them to. The truth is that the brain-changes which correspond to 
mental states are unknown; we have not the least conception how the 
brain-change of a man meditating a gift to a hospital and that of a 
man planning to rob a bank differ from one another. Nor have we any 
direct physical means of producing either. But we do know a good 
deal about men's minds, and we know how to arouse in them ideas 
which will — directly or indirectly, it does not matter which — result in 
definite actions. 

The plain man is, then, quite right in explaining his day by a 
reference to ideas. We have no other way of explaining it. There is 
no reason for changing our usual modes of expression. The parallelist 
who calls himself an automatist, or who talks of winding men up by the 
administration of food harms his own cause gratuitously. There is 
nothing in parallelism, properly understood, to cause apprehension ; and 
there is nothing about the doctrine that is startling. 

It seems right that, having criticized that very clear and charming 
writer, Clifford, I should close with a word in his defense. It is very 
easy, when a doctrine is relatively new, and has not been subjected to 
careful criticism, to misconceive its full significance. Were Clifford 
alive to-day, I do not believe that he would call man an automaton at 
all. He would see, I think, that it is misleading to speak so. But he 
would still be a parallelist, and he would gain the more adherents to his 
interesting scientific hypothesis, in that his utterances would be less 
calculated to shock the common sense of his fellow men. 



A VOCABULARY TEST i57 




A VOCABULARY TEST 

By Professor E. A. KIRKPATR1CK 

FITCHBURG STATE NORMAL SCHOOL 



OF all the inventions of the human race nothing compares in im- 
portance, as regards mental development, with language. In 
the development of each person also, nothing exercises a greater in- 
fluence in molding and developing thought and feeling than his 
language environment. The vocabulary of a person represents in a 
condensed and symbolic form all that he has experienced and imagined. 
The breadth of his mental experience is indicated by the number of 
words that have for him a meaning, while the accuracy of his thinking 
is shown by the constancy and exactness of meaning with which he 
uses words. The study of vocabularies ought therefore to be an im- 
portant branch of psychological investigation. 

Studies have been made of the number of words used by great 
writers, and by children a few years old. The latter studies have 
shown that a child may not use words that are perfectly familiar to 
him for months merely because he has no occasion to use them, e. g., 
words frequently uttered in the summer or when in the country may 
never be used in the city or in the winter. Adults are familiar with 
many words that they have rarely, perhaps never, used. The difficul- 
ties in the way of counting accurately the number of words used by 
an adult or even by a child over three years of age are almost insur- 
mountable. 

When we attempt to estimate the number of words that have a 
meaning for an individual, the difficulties are less although the num- 
ber of words is much greater. The writer long ago estimated the 
number of words in his own vocabulary by going carefully through 
an unabridged dictionary and counting the number of familiar words 
on every tenth page (see Science, 0. S., Vol. XVIII., pp. 107-108). 
Since then he has often had his students estimate the number of con- 
cepts that they possessed by counting the number of words that had 
for them a fairly definite meaning, on a few pages of the dictionary, 
and then calculating from the proportion of familiar words the total 
number of words they knew. 

When a student began, say on page 2, and counted all the words 
in bold-faced type and the number of these known on every fiftieth 
page, and then did the same beginning with page 20, the results were 



158 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

so nearly the same as to convince me that the method was fairly 
accurate. Some preliminary tests were then made that showed that 
a hundred words taken by chance from various parts of the dictionary 
might serve as a fairly accurate measure of the size of one's understand- 
ing vocabulary. The words used in the final test consisted of fifty 
words taken from the first four words on every fiftieth page of Webster's 
academic dictionary and fifty words from the first of other pages leav- 
ing out different forms of the same root word (e. g., photograph, photog- 
rapher). This was done with the thought that older persons might 
be able to infer better the meaning of unfamiliar words than younger 
persons. The results were negative and the author now considers 
that the best list of words is obtained from Webster's academic dic- 
tionary (which contains about 28,000 words on 645 pages), by taking 
the first, second, or last word, or any other definite word on every sixth 
page. For general purposes and for all ages this is probably better 
than to take a hundred words from an unabridged dictionary which 
contains so many various and obsolete forms of the same words, along 
with rare words, and technical terms not found in the smaller dic- 
tionary. Estimates based on words from the academic dictionary give 
less than half as many words in the vocabulary as those based on 
data from the unabridged, but they are more representative of funda- 
mentally different concepts. 

The method of using the test was to place the printed list before 
the subjects and ask them to mark the words that they knew with a 
plus (-{-) sign, those that they did not know with a minus ( — ) sign, 
and doubtful ones with a question mark (?). The tests which num- 
bered about two thousand were made chiefly upon pupils from the 
fourth grade up through the high school and university, although a few 
were made upon younger children. Control tests showed that if the 
same test was given orally, there was some difference in the words 
marked as known and unknown. This difference was of course very 
great in the second and third grades, where a few tests were made, 
and became less with age, yet it usually amounted even in the case 
of adults to from one to three per cent. In a few individuals the 
difference was quite marked. 

The reason for this is that some words are more often heard than 
others, while others are more often seen, hence in one case the audi- 
tory stimulus arouses familiar associations while in the other case the 
visual stimulus is more effective. In general the auditory stimulus" 
is more effective for children, but, as they read more, the visual stimulus 
becomes more effective and later many words are seen that are rarely 
or never heard; hence for such words the visual stimulus is the most 
effective and sometimes the only stimulus which will produce the 
reaction of familiarity. The test is more accurate if both forms of 



A VOCABULARY TEST 159 

stimuli are used, i. e., the words pronounced as the pupils look at 
them. 

There is another cause of difference and also of inaccuracy. In the 
auditory test unfamiliar words are often mistaken for familiar ones 
having a similar sound, e. g., barque for bark, baron for barren, and 
in the visual test similarity of appearance plays a similar part. A 
striking case of this form of error was made by a third grade boy who 
marked the word amaranth as known. I said to him, ' You don't 
know that word, do you ? ' He said, ' Yes/ in a tone that implied 
surprise that I should question it. I then said, ' What is the word ? ' 
He replied, ' Arithmetic' Another boy for similar reasons, partly 
visual and partly auditory, marked ' eschar ' as known and when ques- 
tioned called it ' sister/ 

On the other hand, young children often do not mark words that 
are perfectly familiar to them, because the sounds and forms without 
any other stimuli of suggesting words or circumstances are not suf- 
ficient to immediately arouse the sense of familiarity. One second 
grade boy who marked only eighteen words in the test, when questioned, 
showed by synonyms or definitions, or illustrations, that he knew the 
meaning of thirty of the words. 

Individual habits of thinking or judging is probably the largest 
factor in tending to make the marking of words an unreliable index 
of the actual mental furniture of the subject of the test. Some mark 
as known every word that arouses the feeling of familiarity, while 
others mark as known only those for which they are confident they can 
give a correct definition. The differences in this respect are, how- 
ever, most shown in the doubtful marks while the plus mark usually 
means the arousal of a specific idea by the word form. This idea may 
be vague or distinct, narrow or broad, general or detailed, correct or 
incorrect, but it is the idea usually aroused by the word. 

Upon defining a list of words to a class of normal students after 
they had marked them, it was found that the errors in marking words 
as known and unknown usually cancelled each other, so that the 
number finally reported as known and unknown was for most members 
of the class about the same as when they were first marked. 

Instruction as to what shall be the standard for deciding whether 
a word is known, such as " Count as known all words that you would 
not, as to their meaning, need to look up in a dictionary if you saw 
them in a sentence," helps to render the marking more uniform. 
Another and more accurate method of bringing about uniformity of 
standard is to ask the pupils to define or put in sentences some of the 
words, then to mark the rest according as they think themselves able 
or unable to indicate their meaning. 

If students are asked to define a certain proportion of the words 



i6o 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



as accurately as possible, giving all meanings where there are more 
than one, depth and accuracy as well as breadth of knowledge may be 
tested. In college classes where twenty of the hundred words were 
defined, 114 out of 246 students were found to have denned the same 
proportion of words that they marked as known and only seventeen 
showed a difference of as much as three words of the twenty from the 
corresponding proportion of the hundred words marked. The over- 
estimations slightly exceeded the under estimations. 

The author is convinced that one hundred words selected 
as has been described and marked with care gives sufficient 
basis for an approximate estimate of the size of the understanding 
vocabulary of college and high-school students, and of the higher 
grades of the grammar school. In the author's own classes where 
students were ranged in three grades according to the number of words 
marked as known in one list of words, other lists of words similarly 
selected resulted in 60 per cent, to 80 per cent, of them being again 
in the same grade, while none were changed from the lowest to the 
highest grade. 

Using Webster's Academic Dictionary as a basis it appears from 
averaging about two thousand papers that the size of vocabularies are 
likely to approximate the following: 



Grade II 4,480 

Grade IV 7,020 

Grade VI 8,700 

Grade VIII 12,000 

High School. 

Freshmen 15,640 

Junior 17,600 



Grade III 6,620 

Grade V 7,860 

Grade VII 10,660 

Grade IX 13,400 



Sophomore 16,020 

Senior 18,720 



The average for normal school students is 19,000 and for college 
students 20,120. The colleges represented in this test were Bryn Mawr, 
Smith, Columbia, Brown University and Pratt Institute, while the 
grades and high schools were mostly in Massachusetts cities. 

There seems to be no constant difference between the sexes. On 
only a part of the papers was age given, but there is reason to believe 
that vocabularies increase up to thirty. In Pratt Institute where 
students varied greatly in age, those above twenty-five knew from five 
to ten per cent, more words than those in the same classes who were 
below twenty years of age. It is not likely that the growth of vocabu- 
lary is great after thirty, when deeper specialized and executive activi- 
ties have taken the place of general advancement into new fields of 
knowledge and many words once known are forgotten. 

One important factor in the growth of vocabularies was investigated 
by accompanying the list of words with a request to write names of 



A VOCABULARY TEST 161 

papers and magazines frequently read and of books read since the 
beginning of the year. It was found that in general those who named 
the most books and magazines had the larger vocabularies, regardless of 
their grade. 

The individual differences in size of vocabulary were very great, 
some ninth grade children falling to the rank of second grade children, 
while some third or fourth grade children ranked with the average of 
those in the ninth grade or high school. 

Sometimes a very small vocabulary was accounted for by the fact 
that the child was of foreign parentage and did not hear English at 
home, but the mere fact of being of foreign parentage was no assurance 
that the vocabulary would be small. 

II 

The relation of size of vocabulary to school standing was considered, 
but owing to the scarcity of data and uncertainty as to its reliability 
(only a small proportion of the papers were accompanied by the class 
records or teacher's estimate of ability), no conclusive results were 
reached. In the grades there was no clear proof of relationship 
though in one room, where there was reason to think the teacher's 
estimate had been carefully made, the grading corresponded almost 
exactly to the size of the vocabularies. In one normal class nearly all 
of those who had been named by the faculty as belonging to the lower 
third of the class had small vocabularies. In another class there 
seemed to be little or no relation between size of vocabulary and 
estimates of teaching ability. In two colleges, one for women, the 
other for men, the marks given to the women in English and to men 
in all subjects were secured for the freshman class and compared with 
the number of words known. The average number of words known 
by the men who in general ranked in the various subjects above the 
average of their class was 5 per cent, greater than for those ranking 
below the average; while the women who ranked highest in English, 
averaged nearly 4 per cent, better in vocabularies than those who 
ranked lowest in English. 

In the case of individuals there was often a wide divergence be- 
tween the marks and the size of the vocabulary. In some instances 
exceptionally poor definitions indicated a difference in the standard 
used in marking words as known, but not always. This divergence is 
not, however, greater than between marks in different subjects, e. g., 
students have honor marks in some subjects and fail to pass in others. 

Is size of vocabulary any indication of attainment or ability? An 
affirmative answer to this can not readily be proved by experiment, be- 
cause we have no reliable standard of ability and attainment by which 
the value of the vocabulary test may be determined. It is well known, 

VOL. LXX. — 11. 



1 62 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

however, that persons who do well in one subject often do poorly in 
others and that success in life after school bears little relation to 
success in school. It has recently been shown by Dr. Thorndike that 
entrance examinations bear little relation to college marks. 

From the side of experimental psychology, no accurate measure of 
intellectual ability has been established in spite of many persistent 
and painstaking researches. The various tests used are found to be 
special in their character. There are also indications that what are 
good tests at one age or stage of development may have no significance 
at another stage. Sensory and motor tests are probably valuable in- 
dications of mental ability in young children, memory and imagina- 
tion tests in older children and reasoning tests in youths. 

The function of the nervous system is to respond in an appropriate 
way to the various phases of the stimulating environment. The most 
common phase of environment to which human beings respond is the 
word environment, first to auditory words by movements, then to audi- 
tory and visual words by images and concepts. The number of words 
that are known by any person depends upon two factors, the variety in 
his word environment, auditory and visual, and his own readiness to 
respond to the various elements of this environment. It is perfectly 
natural therefore that children who are surrounded by intellectual 
people or who read a great deal should have large vocabularies and yet 
that the size of individual vocabularies should vary with their readi- 
ness to respond to this word environment. The accuracy of response 
or quality of knowledge can be judged not by the number of words 
but by the accuracy of definitions or use of words. 

The question naturally arises whether size of vocabulary and ability 
to define and use words is not a sufficiently accurate measure of the 
intellectual ability of youths to justify the use of vocabulary tests in 
examinations for entrance to college. College work is supposed to be 
general in its character, demanding general ability, of which the 
vocabulary test ought to give an indication. Of course if students 
should devote their time to a special study of the dictionary, the test 
would become special and valueless, since size of vocabulary would not 
then be an accompaniment and indication of experiences and intel- 
lectual advances, but of special study of modes of defining words in 
terms of other word symbols. 

Ill 

A study of the kind of definitions given by persons of different 
ages is an interesting indication of the sources of word knowledge and 
of the modes of thought at different ages. 

The first words are of course obtained from direct association with 
acts and objects and this continues to be a source of vocabulary growth. 



A VOCABULARY TEST 163 

A large proportion of words, however, come indirectly from experience 
through the medium of words that have already become familiar. 
These new words are sometimes received as equivalents of other words, 
because of synonyms and definitions or of special descriptions. The 
greater part of them, however, gain their significance from their 
association with familiar words in various situations, just as the 
original words were gained from association with various real situa- 
tions. 

These truths may be illustrated by the definitions of gourd given 
by college students. e A drinking cup made from the gourd vine.' ' A 
vegetable which grows in the ground having a hard shell and many 
seeds.' ' A vessel for holding water or other liquid.' ' A receptacle 
for carrying water about, usually of skin.' ' A water bottle made 
from a pumpkin or squash.' ' Vessel sometimes made by scooping out, 
for example, making a vessel by scooping out a pumpkin.' Evidently 
most of these definitions represent ideas gained from sentences in 
which the word, ' gourd ' is used, though those who speak of them as 
1 pumpkins ' or as a ' summer squash,' may have seen the real thing 
without the discriminating eye of the gardener or botanist. The idea 
that it is a vessel of some kind evidently predominates and this idea 
is sufficient for interpreting most sentences in which the word occurs. 

It is interesting to notice the various forms of the subordinate idea 
of the object itself as the various persons picture it under the stimulus 
of the context. ' A shell of certain nuts, fruits and vegetables, or of 
the cocoanut, squash, cucumber, etc' l In many countries it is used 
as a receptacle for food and drink.' ( A fruit on a tree whose shell 
is used for carrying water.' ' The dry fruit of some sort of tropical 
tree.' ' It is hard and round, and some are the size of an apple and 
rattle when you shake them.' ' A species of dried melon.' i An old 
style wooden drinking vessel.' ' A hollow piece of cane.' ' A fruit 
characterized by the fibrous outer shell similar to the cocoanut.' Few 
of the writers of the above had a sufficiently correct idea of the article 
to be able to identify it if it were shown them. They react satis- 
factorily (to themselves) to the book situation though they would be 
laughed at by the gardener and botanist. It is an interesting fact 
that in a prominent college for women the word e decemvirate,' which 
only readers of Eoman history would be likely to encounter, was cor- 
rectly defined by most of the young ladies, while some could give no 
definition for gourd, and many others gave such definitions as have been 
quoted. This is a striking illustration of the difference between the 
word environment of scholastic halls and that of the industries and the 
literature of to-day. 

The following definitions of gourd are inexplicable until one 
realizes that one word form has been mistaken for another. ' To spur 



1 64 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

on' (goad). 'To plunge a weapon into some one, to make a jagged 
wound' (gored). ' An animal' (goat?). 'A greedy person' (gour- 
mand). 'A chasm or piece of land that is very much lower than the 
surrounding land ' (gorge). 

The definitions thus far quoted are by college students, and though 
most of them are exceptional rather than characteristic of the defini- 
tions of college students, they are surprising as well as amusing. 

One English teacher was so astonished at the ' depth of ignorance ' 
displayed by the definitions of his freshman class in English that he 
had all the papers looked over by his assistants, who all agreed that the 
results were ' shocking.' They, however, saw no relation between the 
definitions and the scholarship of individual pupils. (As has already 
been stated the figures show that those ranking high in scholarship 
knew on an average about 5 per cent, more words than those ranking 
low in scholarship.) 

Character of the definitions changed greatly with age. Descrip- 
tions which are so common in the high school and college papers are 
rarely or never given by children in the kindergarten and primary 
grades. The same is true of definitions by synonyms and inclusions 
under larger terms. The younger children nearly always define by 
mention of some specific incident, e. g., ' A cliavr is to sit on'; ' Baby 
stands up by a chair' ; ' A bee goes around a piazza and makes a noise.' 
What anything can do, or what can be done to it, or with it, is of most 
importance in early knowledge of all things, hence we find the defini- 
tions of children expressing action and use more than anything else. 
Eeference to personal experience of self and friends is also common. 
These facts are of great significance to pedagogy, strongly endorsing 
the change now being made from the old descriptive ' object lesson ' 
to the better forms of nature study in which use is made the center of 
interest. 



MAGICAL MEDICAL PRACTISE 165 



MAGICAL MEDICAL PRACTISE IN SOUTH CAROLINA 

BY JOHN HAWKINS 

AS chemistry began in alchemy and astronomy in astrology, so 
medicine, to a great extent, has grown out of magic. Its first 
professors were sorcerers and priests ; and its beginnings are to be looked 
for in the juggleries and mummeries of holy men and women who, by 
fastings, narcotics, or other means, enabled themselves to communicate 
with the benignant or malevolent spirits which savage philosophy finds 
in every object of nature. Among rude peoples the physician is often 
a priest and always a magician. 

Alchemy is dead and astrology as it exists to-day is no longer to be 
considered seriously by the student of culture; but, owing perhaps to 
the religious factor in its origin, the science of medicine, as it is under- 
stood by a very large number of persons, is still encumbered with the 
dead husks of its earliest growth. Even in the most enlightened coun- 
tries physicians are constantly confronted with the idea that disease is 
a sort of demoniacal possession which is to be relieved by prayer, or 
that it is some mysterious entity which can be removed only by the use 
of some equally mysterious remedy. Charms, medals impregnated 
with virtue by ecclesiastical benediction, and so-called electric and 
galvanic belts, pads, rings, brushes and other appliances are sold by 
thousands; and patent panaceas, compounded of drugs brought from 
strange lands or discovered in some unusual way, are bought and used 
by millions of credulous and afflicted persons in all parts of the world. 

In view of these facts it is not remarkable that one occasionally 
finds in the United States, as well as in secluded nooks of the Old 
World, regions in which superstitious medical practises, handed down 
from father to son for no one knows how many hundreds of years, not 
only survive, but also show an astonishing degree of vitality. 

Such a region occurs in the central part of South Carolina. It is 
a strip of country about one hundred miles long and from thirty to fifty 
miles wide, lying along the Santee, the Congaree, Broad and Saluda 
rivers, and embracing parts of the counties of Orangeburg, Lexington, 
Newberry and Saluda. The early European settlers of this region 
were Germans who came, about the middle of the eighteenth century, 
from the Lower Palatinate, Baden, Wiirtemberg and Switzerland. At 
a little later date small groups and isolated families of Scotch-Irish, 
of English and of French from the Huguenot settlements of the coast 
region established themselves among these peasants from the banks of 
the Rhine. But, broadly speaking, this part of Carolina was in the 



1 66 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

early days a bit of Germany transplanted bodily into the new world; 
and, undisturbed by subsequent immigration, its inhabitants have re- 
tained to the present day many of the traits and characteristics of their 
ancestors. The existing surnames of the people are still largely Ger- 
man; the Lutheran faith is strong; the language of the fatherland has 
fallen into disuse almost within the memory of living men; and thi 
customs and superstitions which prevail are, to a great extent, those 
bequeathed by the pioneers to their descendants. 

Until ninety or a hundred years ago, according to local historians, 
there were no physicians in this region. Besides the stock of medical 
lore in the possession of the old women of every country neighborhood, 
the sick had recourse only to a system of practise known as ' using/ 
which consisted in rubbing the affected part with the hands of the 
operator, blowing the breath upon it, and repeating over the patient 
certain ancient charms or incantations, in the efficacy of which both 
doctor and patient had unbounded faith. 

At the present day physicians are here plentiful, and in learning 
and skill they compare favorably with those of any country district. 
Many of them have enjoyed the advantages of the best schools in 
America, and some have studied abroad. Yet here extremes meet, 
and the highest and the lowest join hands. The skillful modern physi- 
cian, armed with all the resources of science, sometimes finds himself 
face to face with a method of medical treatment as old as humanity 
itself; and he must pit his pills and powders against magical charms, 
some of which bear on their face the marks of a time when Thor an 1 
Woden were realities and not myths in the minds of men. 

It must not be understood that ' using ' is very generally practised. 
Its employment is now uncommon and exceptional. As a rule the 
Teutonic Carolinians are fairly intelligent, having schools, churches 
and newspapers, and superstition is dying out. But a stubborn con- 
servatism, seemingly innate in human nature, makes such things die 
hard. There is still a class of people which clings tenaciously to the 
old beliefs; and this class is apt — especially when regular physicians 
fail, as they sometimes must, to relieve the afflicted — to have recourse 
to some old man or woman who enjoys a local reputation for skill in 
magic. Whether a cure is thus effected or not, belief in the method is 
not shaken, for, as Bacon remarks, men count the hits but not the 
misses. An occasional success offsets many failures, and so faith in the 
formulas which age and the authority of the elders have rendered 
sacred remains unimpaired. 

As one star differeth from another in glory, so, too, the practitioners 
of ' using ' differ from one another in skill and in extent of knowledge. 
Some are acquainted with the methods, but have little success in prac- 
tise. To some who are successful only one or two of the charms are 



MAGICAL MEDICAL PRACTISE 167 

known; others possess a half dozen or more. Skillful or unskillful, 
however, ( users ' are by no means numerous, and when emergencies 
arise that demand their services it is sometimes necessary to send to 
considerable distances before one is found. Their scarcity is due to 
the fact that the formulas are jealously guarded, since the promiscuous 
disclosure of the secrets is thought to take away the possessor's influ- 
ence over the powers which bring disease and death. The ethics of the 
profession demand that when an adept at c using ' feels the approach 
of age and death he shall divulge his magical knowledge to some one 
(and to one only) who is worthy to possess it; and this one is bound 
to transmit it in like manner to a single successor. 

It is not altogether impossible, however, as this article will show, 
for one of the uninitiated to obtain possession of the formulas. One 
may sometimes find a possessor of the mystic charms who is not un- 
willing to communicate them to another for a money consideration. 
Of those grouped together below, eight were secured in this way. The 
remainder, with one exception, were then obtained by a system of ex- 
change, charm being given for charm. 

So much by way of preface to the formulas themselves, which are 
here given in italics, the directions for their use being printed in ordi- 
nary type. The authorities are followed verbatim: 

Fob Cataract: / rub you with my right thumb, that you may move and 
depart. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. 
Amen. Rub it with the thumb from the nose outwards until you say the above 
words, blowing first three times. This must be done three mornings and even- 
ings, every time three times. 

For a Film over the Eye: Eye, I do not knoio what ails you; I know not 
whence it is. There shall it go. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost. Amen. Hub the eye three times with the right hand and repeat 
three times. 

For a Blister in the Eye: Joseph begat Anna, Anna begat Mary, Mary 
begat our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. This is most certainly true. 
Blotch, blister, go away. Do this man's [woman's] eye no harm. In the 
name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. Say it three times. 

For a Burn or Scald: 0! you hot and burning flame, you are so hot and 
dark! With God, the Father, I drive you; with God, the Son, go you away. 
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. Blow the breath 
three times upon the burn, pass the hand thrice over it, and say these words 
three times. 

For a Burn or Scald: The Holy Woman goes out over the land; what 
carries she in her hand? A fire-brand. Eat not in you, eat not around you. 
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen. Say these 
words three times, rub three times upward and downward, and blow three times 
— every time three times. 

For Inflammation: St. John came over with all his congregation; St. 
Mary came over with all her communication; Christ is mighty to cure mortifi- 
cation and all other complaints. In the name of the Father and Son and 
Holy Ghost. Amen. Say it three times. 

For the Liver-Grown : Liver-grown and Heart-bound depart from thy ribs, 
as Jesus went out of the manger. In the name of God, the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost. Amen. Dip your thumbs in fat and rub three times upon the 
breast and three times upon the back as you say the above words, every morning 
and evening for three mornings and evenings, three times. This must be done 
at odd hours — one, three, five, seven, nine or eleven o'clock. 



1 68 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

For the Night-brand or Scrofula: I forewarn you that you shall no 
longer burn, but be you cold as a dead man's hand. In the name of the Father, 
the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen. Take the middle finger of your right 
hand and rub three times around as you say these words. Do this, morning 
and evening, three times, for three mornings and evenings. 

For Fever: Jesus went over the mountain, and he saw a great fever and he 
cured it with his hands. In the name of God, the Father; in the name of God, 
the Son; in the name of God, the Holy Ghost. Amen. Rub three times, blow 
three times, and repeat three times. 

For Epilepsy, or Falling Sickness: Take a new broom and sweep from 
three corners of a room. Throw the sweepings over the person who has the 
sickness, while you say these words: In God's name, Falling Sickness, you must 
depart till I these seed do cut. So do it three times. 

For a Worm in the Finger — Whitlow: As he [she] went over muddy 
bagger's branch he [she] met three worms; one was a white one, one was a 
black one, and one was a red one. I command this to die, in the name of the 
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Say it three times. 

For Stopping Blood: Say the name of the person, then: Holy is the day 
and holy is the hour wherein happened the wound. In the name of the Father 
and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Say the name of him that has 
the wound first; and if the wound is on the right side lay your left hand there- 
upon, and if on the left side lay your right hand thereupon. If you know the 
name of the person you may stop the bleeding though the person be three or 
four miles away. 

For Colic, or Rising of the Mother: Lay your hand on the person's 
stomach and say three times: / stand on wood and I see wood. For one glass- 
ful of cold red wine. Rising of Mother, or Colic, let this griping alone. A. B. G. 
May God help you. In the name of God, the Father; in the name of God, the 
Son; in the name of God, the Holy Ghost. Amen, Amen, and Amen. 

For a Boil, or Imposthume : The Boil and the Dragon went over the creek. 
The Dragon drank, the Boil sank. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost. Amen. Lay your right hand upon the boil as you say these words. 
Do it three times, and the boil will soon decrease. 

For the Wild-fire (Erysipelas) : Wild-fire, move away; the tame-fire is 
over you. Take a coal of fire or a fire-brand and rub three times around it 
morning and evening, each time three times, as you say these words. It will 
soon be better. 

For Greedy-worm : When our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was upon the 
earth he met a greedy-worm, and he said, ' Where are you going, greedy-worm? 
In the child's stomach or no? You shall not do that. That I forbid you, by 
sulphur and pitch, that I may never see you any more. Do you go in the green 
wood. There is a well deep and cold. Out of that well you may drink, and 
of this child nevermore think.' In the name of the Father, in the name of the 
Son, and in the name of the Holy Ghost. Amen, Amen, and Amen. Blow your 
breath three times on the face and say these words three times over. 

For Open Head: Head, I squeeze you together for [name of patient]. In 
the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Press together three times each 
way and say these words three times. 

A Cure for Bots: 

There was a man 

Rode over the land 

With three worms in his hand. 

One loas white, another black, the other red, 

And in an hour they xoere dead. 

Stand the horse with his bead toward sunrise. Take your right hand and rub 
from the nose over the head, neck, and back, down to the end of the tail, as you 
say these words. Do this three times in two or three hours, every time three 
times. Give some purgative medicine. 

There are two more formulas which, though not strictly medical in 
character, are so nearly akin to those already given that they may be 



MAGICAL MEDICAL PRACTISE 169 

appropriately included in the same list. One of them is used when the 

first collar is placed upon a colt's neck, and it is supposed to prevent 

the equine vice known as ' balking,' and to cause the animal to work 

satisfactorily. It is as follows : 

Refuse not to pull while the Jews keep Saturday for Sunday. In the name 
of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen. 

The other is used to prevent the depredations of thieves and burglars 
and the approach of deadly enemies. If one has a house or a field 
which he wishes to protect he should walk around it three times, re- 
peating the incantation each time. It is thought that any one attempt- 
ing to cross the line thus made will be paralyzed, in his tracks, and will 
have to stand there until released by the sorcerer. This must be done 
before sunrise; otherwise the offender may die. The charm is as 
follows : 

When Mary lay in child-bed and Joseph was about to flee aioay, Joseph 
cried out and said: ' There goes a thief in our house who wants to steal the 
child.' And Mary said: 'St. Peter bade, St. Peter said, "I have bound him in 
God's hand." Whosoever would, in twenty-three hours, steal from me or do 
any hurt to my life shall stand there till I tell him to go away.' In the name 
of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen. 

About seventy years ago the writer's grandfather removed his family 
from South Carolina to the west, and on the eve of his departure a 
neighbor gave him this charm for the protection of the wagon-camp 
at night, but its virtue was never tested. In South Carolina it seems 
still to be used, and there are two or three recent stories of watermelon 
thieves having been caught in this way. One relates that at daybreak 
the thief was seen standing, unable to move or even to drop the bag 
of stolen melons on his shoulder. 

There are also formulas for the cure of cancer and for the removal 
of warts, but these the writer has not been fortunate enough to secure. 
A very old lady of his acquaintance, Mrs. R — , from whom some of the 
formulas mentioned were obtained, says that she was cured of cancer 
many years ago by one Adam Boland, of Newberry County, who was a 
famous ' user ' in his day. In her case the ' using ' was done when 
she was not present. She says that Boland, after repeating the charm 
and the name of the patient three times, always took an axe and cut 
into the heart of a pine tree in order to ascertain whether the treatment 
would prove successful. If the tree lived the patient would recover; 
otherwise, the charm was powerless. Mrs. R — gives some further 
particulars of interest. Her daughter learned a few of the formulas 
when a child and used them frequently and successfully to relieve her 
father's illness, although he had no faith in the practise. The charms 
lose their force if taught by a younger person to an older one; the 
learner should always be younger than the teacher. The point of view 
from which many persons look on these superstitious methods of treat- 
ment is well illustrated by a remark of Mrs. R — . She says : 



i7o POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

I don't see why ' using ' shouldn't be as efficient as prayer, since the three 
highest names [Father, Son, and Holy Ghost] are always used. At any rate 
it can do no harm, if it does no good; and in this respect it differs from the 
drugs used by physicians. 

If we look for practises analogous to these mentioned here the 
abundance of material is found to be overwhelming. The use of 
charms and incantations for the cure of disease may be noted in all 
ages since the dawn of history and among peoples of all grades of cul- 
ture. Pepys gives several, current in his day, which are very similar 
in character to those given above; for example, the following, for stop- 
ping blood: 

Sanguis mane in te 
Sicut Christus fuit in se; 
Sanguis mane in tua vena 
Sicut Christus in sua poena; 
Sanguis mane fixus 
Sicut Christus quando fuit crucifixus. 

He also gives one for a burn which is almost identical with one of 

those now in use in South Carolina : 

There came three angels out of the East; 
The one brought fire, the other brought frost. 

Out, fire; in, frost. 
In the name of the Father, Son, and 

Holy Ghost. Amen. 

Eeginald Scot in ' The Discoverie of Witchcraft,' published in 

1584, records an accredited method: 

To heale the King's or Queen's evill, or any other sorenesse of the throte: 
Let a virgine, fasting, laie hir hand on the sore and saie: Apollo denieth that 
the heate of the plague can increase where a naked virgine quencheth it, and 
spet three times upon it. 

This is interesting as showing the survival of a formula dating 
from pre-Christian times. There is very good reason' for believing 
that the incantations of the ' users ' of the present day may claim an 
equal antiquity. Like some of the festivals of the church, they had 
their origin in heathen times, and the introduction of Christianity did 
not suffice to shake their hold on the popular mind. In old Germany 
neither Charlemagne's conquest nor the priest who followed it could 
put a period to the use of staves carved with mystic runes and devoted 
to the purposes of divination and incantation. The oak, the ash and 
the willow preserved their sacred character; and in the old heathen 
formulas for the cure of disease, the only change effected by Christi- 
anity was the substitution of the ' three highest names' (Father, Son 
and Holy Ghost) for those of Thor, Woden and other heathen deities. 
The following heathen and Christian versions of a popular charm for 
sprains will illustrate the change effected : 

Old Version. 

Phol and Woden 
went to the wood; 
there was of Balder's colt 
his foot wrenched; 



MAGICAL MEDICAL PRACTISE 171 

then Sinthgunt charmed it, 
and Sunna her sister; 
then Frua charmed it, 
and Volla her sister; 
then Woden charmed it, 
as he well could, 
as well the bone-wrench, 
as the joint-wrench, 
as the blood-wrench; 
bone to bone, 
blood to blood, 
joint to joint, 
as if they were glued together. 

Christianized Version. 

Our Lord rade, 

His foal's foot slade; 

Down he lighted, 

His foal's foot righted; 

Bone to bone, 

Sinew to sinew, 

Flesh to flesh. 
Heal, in the name of the Father, 
the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen. 

Examples of similar formulas might be multiplied indefinitely from 
all parts of the world, and from the remotest times to the present, but 
this is unnecessary. It is enough to note the curious fact that if the 
practise of the Carolina ' users ' of the present day could be witnessed 
by Egyptian physicians of four thousand years ago, by Druid priests 
from the Gaul described by Csesar, and by American Indian medicine 
men from the time of Columbus, it would appear to all of them a per- 
fectly natural and philosophical method of treatment, however unin- 
telligible the language of the formulas might be. 

Besides the superstitions already cited, there exists in this region a 
number of other magical healing practises. These, however, unlike 
' using/ can not be said to belong exclusively to that part of the popula- 
tion which is descended from the early German settlers. Africa is 
certainly the native land of some of them. The others form a part of 
that vast body of popular lore, of mixed and uncertain origin, which 
is the common property of the people of northern and western Europe 
and their descendants. 

A prescription for rheumatism is closely allied to some of the 
' using ' practises, although no words are to be repeated over the patient. 
It is compounded of a teacupful of sweet cream, thickened with salt, 
seven buds of brier, nine of rosemary and eleven grains of black pepper. 
When these have been allowed to simmer together the mixture is to be 
skimmed, and with the remaining ointment the rheumatic parts are to 
be rubbed ' downward and outward on three Fridays in the dark of the 
moon/ Simpler remedies for rheumatism are rattle-snake oil; grease 
fried from toads; and a sharp knife or razor taken to bed with the 
patient to ' cut the pains.' 



i72 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

To cure cramp it is only necessary to wear garters of eel-skin, or 
to invert the sufferer's shoes under his bed at night. Herpes, or 
shingles, should be rubbed with blood from a black cat's tail or from a 
black fowl's neck. Treatment should be prompt, as it is thought that 
the patient will certainly die if the inflammation completely encircles 
the body. 

Negroes seem especially subject to inflammation of the uvula, an 
ailment known among them as ' falling palate.' In Orangeburg 
County the favorite treatment consists in pressing the uvula upward 
with the back of a silver spoon, at the same time pulling strongly at a 
tuft of hair on the top of the head. Many negroes cultivate a tuft of 
hair, for this purpose, over the middle of the forehead. In another 
mode of treatment the uvula is supposed to be driven up into its proper 
place by smart blows administered with a stick upon the soles of the feet. 

Warts and corns are everywhere the object of many superstitious 
practises. In South Carolina the owner of these excrescences may take 
his choice of several remedies. He may select a broom straw having 
as many joints as there are warts to be removed, pick the warts until 
they bleed, and put a drop of blood from each wart upon a joint of the 
culm, then bury the straw under the eaves of the house. Or he may 
count the warts and tie in a string the same number of knots, and bury 
the string. Another method is to rub each wart with a pea, and bury 
the peas in the same way. Still another is as follows: Tie as many 
knots in a string as there are warts to be removed ; blindfold the patient 
and lead him about until he is lost ; then give him the string, which he 
should bury in the ground, unobserved by any one. As the string 
decays the warts will disappear. Corns may be removed by rubbing 
them with a grain of corn and then feeding the grain to the oldest fowl 
in the yard. This last remedy comes from a very old negro woman, 
still living, who was brought from Africa in her childhood; but this 
may not mean that the remedy is African in origin. 

An old lady, whose parents were Scotch-Irish, gives the following 
remedy for bleeding of the nose : Let the nose bleed on three pieces of 
cloth, put these in three holes bored into as many different kinds of 
fruit-bearing trees, and stop the holes. This will result in a permanent 
cure. A gruesome drink for epilepsy is a tea made of a piece of rope 
with which some one has been hanged. Equally repulsive is a reputed 
remedy for chills and fever, consisting of pills made of dried and pul- 
verized earthworms. Eisings and boils may be cured by the touch of 
one who has crushed a ground-mole to death in his hands. 

Either from the great number of ailments to which they are sub- 
ject or from their helplessness, or possibly from both causes combined, 
infants claim a large share of magical medical practise. When a baby 
is born an axe is sometimes placed under the mother's couch with the 



MAGICAL MEDICAL PRACTISE 173 

blade upward to cut the ' after-pains ' of childbirth. To render teeth- 
ing easy and painless the infant's gums are rubbed with a ' cooter ' 
bone, the ear or bone of a rabbit, or the warm brains of the same animal 
just killed. It is thought that nine live wood-lice tied in a bag and 
suspended from the neck of a child having thrush will soon give relief. 
The touch of a posthumous son is recommended for the same complaint. 
As a preventive of croup a black silk thread or a string of ' electric ' 
(amber) beads is placed around the neck. 

In the little city of Newberry a few years ago an infant was sup- 
posed to have been cured of a disease known as ' stretches ' by passing 
it through a horse-collar warm from use. Some authorities say that 
shoe-sole tea should first be administered, to be followed by the horse- 
collar treatment. In the same county an infant who had a case of 
umbilical hernia was passed by his father through a cleft in a living 
young white-oak tree. The theory was that the child would recover 
if the tree lived ; if it died the hernia would remain. The tree and the 
patient, both of them living and whole, are still here to convince un- 
believers of the virtues of magical medicine. 

The passing of children through rings of various kinds is compara- 
tively common. One of the ' using' formulas already given in this 
article is for the cure of ' liver-grown/ an ailment known also as 
' growed-on ' and ' grow-fast,' in which the liver is supposed to adhere 
abnormally to some other organ. This is also treated by passing the 
patient through a horse-collar or between the rungs of a ladder. In 
still another method the afflicted infant is passed between the legs of 
a table, after which it is held by the feet and tossed upwards towards 
each of the four corners of the room, care being taken, however, to pre- 
vent it from falling or from striking the walls. In Newberry County, 
several years ago, a negro mother, misunderstanding the directions 
given her by an old woman for this treatment, killed her child by 
throwing it forcibly against the four corners of her log house. 

It is not always easy to explain the philosophy of superstition, but 
in these cases the thought underlying the treatment is sufficiently evi- 
dent. The idea seems to be that disease is caused by an evil spirit 
which may be misled and puzzled by mazes of rings and tortuous pas- 
sages. Thus, interlaced cords are still sold in Italy as charms, and 
Persian carpets are woven in intricate patterns to bewilder the evil eye. 
Analogies to the Carolina practises cited are abundant and they 
lead us back to very remote times. Mr. Edward Clodd, the English 
author of several works on custom, myth and religion, is authority for 
the statement that the practise of drawing infants through the cleft 
trunks of trees (usually ash) still prevails in remote rural districts of 
England. Scotch witches in effecting magical cures used to pass their 
patients nine times through rings or garlands of woodbine; and from 



i74 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Scotland comes also the custom of passing young chicks through the 
orbits of a horse's skull to keep the hawks from catching them. The 
perforated monoliths of Great Britain and northern Europe are known 
generally as ' Odin Stones,' probably because, according to the Norse 
mythology, Odin in the shape of a worm bored his head through a 
stone to get at the 'mead of poetry'; and babies have been drawn 
through them from ancient times to cure them of various ailments. 
These monoliths, as well as the small perforated ' Odin ' stones still 
used as amulets in the same countries, are closely related to the sala- 
grama, or holy stone, common, curiously enough, to Italy and India. 
In Italy the salagrama is a stalagmite which is believed, on account 
of its resemblance to the mounds thrown up by earthworms, to be such 
a mound petrified. The people carry it in a bag with some magical 
herbs, and repeat over it an incantation which recites that its cavities 
and irregularities are potent to bewilder the evil eye. The Indian 
salagrama is a kind of ammonite about as large as an orange and having 
a hole through it. A legend relates that Vishnu, the Preserver, when 
pursued by the Destroyer, was changed by Maya into the stone, through 
which as a worm the Destroyer bored his way. It is believed that the 
evil eye is blunted by the perforation and by the irregularities of the 
stone's surface. 

The survival in the midst of a high civilization of these Carolina 
practises, allied as they are to practises and beliefs of almost primitive 
times, affords a pertinent illustration of the manner in which magical 
arts cling to life. We have seen how heathen charms and incantations 
not only failed to disappear before the coming of Christianity, but even 
gained a new lease of life by hastening to enlist themselves under its 
banner. It is the same way with superstitions in general. Adapting 
themselves from age to age to the changed conditions which surround 
them, here receding and there advancing, dying out only to reappear 
under changed and scarcely recognizable forms, they yield almost im- 
perceptibly to the advance of sound learning and common sense. Their 
retreat, however, has been more rapid since science has begun to shed 
her rays into the dark places where such things hide themselves; and 
in proportion as this great light becomes more generally diffused magic 
in medicine, as in all other departments of human thought, will fade 
and finally disappear. 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 175 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 

By m. h. poincare 

MEMBER OF THE INSTITUTE OF FRANCE 

Chapter V. Analysis and Physics 



~V7~ IT have doubtless often been asked of what good are mathematics 
-"- and whether these delicate constructions entirely mind-made 
are not artificial and born of our caprice. 

Among those who put this question I should make a distinction; 
practical people ask of us only the means of money-making. These 
merit no reply; rather would it be proper to ask of them what is the 
good of accumulating so much wealth and whether, to get time to 
acquire it, art and science are to be neglected, which alone should 
make us capable of enjoying it, ' and for life's sake to sacrifice all reasons 
for living/ 

Besides, a science made solely in view of applications is impossible ; 
truths are fecund only if bound together. If we devote ourselves solely 
to those truths whence we expect an immediate result, the intermediary 
links are wanting and there will no longer be a chain. 

The men most disdainful of theory get from it, without suspecting 
it, their daily bread; deprived of this food, progress would quickly 
cease, and we should soon congeal into the immobility of China. 

But enough of uncompromising practicians ! Besides these, there 
are those who are only interested in nature and who ask us if we can 
enable them to know it better. 

To answer these, we have only to show them the two monuments 
already rough-hewn, Celestial Mechanics and Mathematical Physics. 

They would doubtless concede that these structures are well worth 
the trouble they have cost us. But this is not enough. Mathematics 
have a triple aim. They must furnish an instrument for the study of 
nature. But that is not all : they have a philosophic aim and, I dare 
maintain, an esthetic aim. They must aid the philosopher to fathom 
the notions of number, of space, of time. And above all their adepts 
find therein delights analogous to those given by painting and music. 
They admire the delicate harmony of numbers and forms ; they marvel 
when a new discovery opens to them an unexpected perspective; and 
has not the joy they thus feel the esthetic character, even though the 
senses take no part therein? Only a privileged few are called to enjoy 
it fully, it is true, but is not this the case for all the noblest arts ? 



176 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

This is why I do not hesitate to say that mathematics deserve to be 
cultivated for their own sake, and that the theories inapplicable to 
physics should be so as well as the others. Even if the physical aim and 
the esthetic aim were not united, we ought not to sacrifice either. 

But more: these two aims are inseparable and the best means of 
attaining one is to aim at the other, or at least never to lose sight of it. 
This is what I am about to try to demonstrate in setting forth the 
nature of the relations between the pure science and its applications. 

The mathematician should not be for the physicist a mere pur- 
veyor of formulas; there should be between them a more intimate 
collaboration. Mathematical physics and pure analysis are not merely 
adjacent powers, maintaining good neighborly relations ; they mutually 
interpenetrate and their spirit is the same. This will be better under- 
stood when I have shown what physics gets from mathematics and 
what mathematics, in return, borrows from physics. 

II 

The physicist can not ask of the analyst to reveal to him a new 
truth; the latter could at most only aid him to foresee it. It is a 
long time since one still dreamt of forestalling experiment, or of con- 
structing the entire world on certain premature hypotheses. Since all 
those constructions in which one yet took a naive delight it is an age, 
to-day only their ruins remain. 

All laws are therefore deduced from experiment; but to enunciate 
them, a special language is needful; ordinary language is too poor, it 
is besides too vague, to express relations so delicate, so rich, and so 
precise. 

This therefore is one reason why the physicist can not do without 
mathematics; it furnishes him the only language he can speak. And 
a well-made language is no indifferent thing ; not to go beyond physics, 
the unknown man who invented the word heat devoted many genera- 
tions to error. Heat has been treated as a substance, simply because it 
was designated by a substantive, and it has been thought indestructible. 

On the other hand, he who invented the word electricity had the 
unmerited good fortune to implicitly endow physics with a new law, 
that of the conservation of electricity, which, by a pure chance, has been 
found exact, at least until now. 

Well, to continue the simile, the writers who embellish a language, 
who treat it as an object of art, make of it at the same time a more 
supple instrument, more apt for rendering shades of thought. 

We understand, then, how the analyst, who pursues a purely esthetic 
aim, helps create, just by that, a language more fit to satisfy the 
physicist. 

But this is not all : law springs from experiment, but not immedi- 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 177 

ately. Experiment is individual, the law deduced from it is general; 
experiment is only approximate, the law is precise, or at least pretends 
to be. Experiment is made under conditions always complex, the 
enunciation of the law eliminates these complications. This is what is 
called ' correcting the systematic errors.' 

In a word, to get the law from experiment, it is necessary to 
generalize; this is a necessity imposed upon the most circumspect ob- 
server. But how generalize? Every particular truth may evidently 
be extended in an infinity of ways. Among these thousand routes 
opening before us, it is necessary to make a choice, at least provisional; 
in this choice, what shall guide us ? 

It can only be analogy. But how vague is this word ! Primitive 
man knew only crude analogies, those which strike the senses, those of 
colors or of sounds. He never would have dreamt of likening light to 
radiant heat. 

What has taught us to know the true, profound analogies, those the 
eyes do not see but reason divines? 

It is the mathematical spirit, which disdains matter to cling only 
to pure form. This it is which has taught us to give the same name 
to things differing only in material, to call by the same name, for 
instance, the multiplication of quaternions and that of whole numbers. 

If quaternions, of which I have just spoken, had not been so 
promptly utilized by the English physicists, many persons would doubt- 
less see in them only a useless fancy, and yet, in teaching us to liken 
what appearances separate, they would have already rendered us more 
apt to penetrate the secrets of nature. 

Such are the services the physicist should expect of analysis :, but for 
this science to be able to render them, it must be cultivated in the 
broadest fashion without immediate expectation of utility — the mathe- 
matician must have worked as artist. 

What we ask of him is to help us to see, to discern our way in the 
labyrinth which opens before us. Now, he sees best who stands highest. 
Examples abound, and 1 1 limit myself to the most striking. 

The first will show us how to change the language suffices to reveal 
generalizations not before suspected. 

When Newton's law has been substituted for Kepler's, we still know 
only elliptic motion. Now, in so far as concerns this motion, the two 
laws differ only in form; we pass from one to the other by a simple 
differentiation. And yet from Newton's law may be deduced by an 
immediate generalization all the effects of perturbations and the whole 
of celestial mechanics. If, on the other hand, Kepler's enunciation 
had been retained, no one would ever have regarded the orbits of the 
perturbed plants, those complicated curves of which no one has ever 
written the equation, as the natural generalizations of the ellipse. The 

V>L, LXX. — 12. 



178 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

progress of observations would only have served to create belief in 
chaos. 

The second example is equally deserving of consideration. 

When Maxwell began his work, the laws of electro-dynamics ad- 
mitted up to his time accounted for all the known facts. It was 
not a new experiment which came to invalidate them. But in looking 
at them under a new bias, Maxwell saw that the equations became 
more symmetrical when a term was added, and besides, this term was 
too small to produce effects appreciable with the old methods. 

You know that Maxwell's a priori views awaited for twenty years 
an experimental confirmation; or if you prefer, Maxwell was twenty 
years ahead of experiment. How was this triumph obtained? 

It was because Maxwell was profoundly steeped in the sense of 
mathematical symmetry; would he have been so, if others before him 
had not studied this symmetry for its own beauty ? 

It was because Maxwell was accustomed to ' think in vectors,' and 
yet it was through the theory of imaginaries (neomonics) that vectors 
were introduced into analysis. And those who invented imaginaries 
hardly suspected the advantage which would be obtained from them 
for the study of the real world; of this the name given them is proof 
sufficient. 

In a word, Maxwell was perhaps not an able analyst, but this 
ability would have been for him only a useless and bothersome baggage. 
On the other hand, he had in the highest degree the intimate sense 
of mathematical analogies. Therefore it is that he made good mathe- 
matical physics. 

Maxwell's example teaches us still another thing. 

How should the equations of mathematical physics be treated? 
Should we simply deduce all the consequences, and regard them as 
intangible realities? Far from it; what they should teach us above 
all is what can and what should be changed. It is thus that we get 
from them something useful. 

The third example goes to show us how we may perceive mathe- 
matical analogies between phenomena which have physically no rela- 
tion either apparent or real, so that the laws of one of these phenomena 
aid us to divine those of the otber. 

The very same equation, that of Laplace, is met in the theory of 
Newtonian attraction, in that of the motion of liquids, in that of the 
electric potential, in that of magnetism, in that of the propagation of 
heat and in still many others. What is the result? These theories 
seem images copied one from the other; they are mutually illuminating, 
borrowing their language from each other; ask electricians if they do 
not felicitate themselves on having invented the phrase flow of force, 
suggested by hydrodynamics and the theory of heat. 



THE VALVE OF SCIENCE 179 

Thus mathematical analogies not only , may make us foresee phys- 
ical analogies, but besides do not cease to be useful when these latter 
fail. 

To sum up, the aim of mathematical physics is not only to facilitate 
for the physicist the numerical calculation of certain constants or the 
integration of certain differential equations. It is besides, it is above 
all, to reveal to him the hidden harmony of things in making him see 
them in a new way. 

Of all the parts of analysis, the most elevated, the purest, so to 
speak, will be 'the most fruitful in the hands of those who know how 
to use them. 

Ill 

Let us now see what analysis owes to physics. 

It would be necessary to have completely forgotten the history of 
science not to remember that the desire to understand nature has had 
on the development of mathematics the most constant and happiest 
influence. 

In the first place the physicist sets us problems whose solution he 
expects of us. But in proposing them to us, he has largely paid us in 
advance for the service we shall render him, if we solve them. 

If I may be allowed to continue my comparison with the fine arts, 
the pure mathematician who should forget the existence of the exterior 
world would be like a painter who knew how to harmoniously combine 
colors and forms, but who lacked models. His creative power would 
soon be exhausted. 

The combi nations which numbers and symbols may form' are an 
infinite multitude. In this multitude how shall we choose those which 
are worthy to fix our attention? Shall we let ourselves be guided solely 
by our caprice? This caprice, which itself would besides soon tire, 
would doubtless carry us very far apart and we should quickly cease 
to understand each other. 

But this is only the smaller side of the question. Physics will doubt- 
less prevent our straying, but it will also preserve us from a danger 
much more formidable; it will prevent our ceaselessly going around in 
the same circle. 

History proves that physics has not only forced us to choose among 
problems which came in a crowd ; it has imposed upon us such as we 
should without it never have dreamed of. However varied may be the 
imagination of man. nature is still a thousand times richer. To follow 
her we must take ways we have neglected, and these paths lead us often 
to summits whence we discover new countries. What could be more 
useful ! 

It is with mathematical symbols as with physical realities; it is in 
comparing the different aspects of things that we are able to compre- 



180 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

hend their inner harmony;, which alone is beautiful and consequently 
worthy of our efforts. 

The first examine I shall cite is so old we are tempted to forget 
it; it is nevertheless the most important of all. 

The sole natural object of mathematical thought is the whole 
number. It is the external world which has imposed the continuum 
upon us, which we doubtless have invented, but which it has forced us 
to invent. Without it there would be no infinitesimal analysis; all 
mathematical science would reduce itself to arithmetic or to the theory 
of substitutions. 

On the contrary, we have devoted to the study of the continuum 
almost all our time and all our strength. Who will regret it; who will 
think that this time and this strength have been wasted? Analysis 
unfolds before us infinite perspectives that arithmetic never suspects; 
it shows us at a glance a majestic assemblage whose array is simple 
and symmetric ; on the contrary, in the theory of numbers, where reigns 
the unforeseen, the view is, so to speak, arrested at every step. 

Doubtless it will be said that outside of the whole number there is 
no rigor, and consequently no mathematical truth; that the whole 
number hides everywhere, and that we must strive to render trans- 
parent the screens which cloak it, even if to do so we must resign our- 
selves to interminable repetitions. Let us not be such purists and 
let us be grateful to the continuum, which, if all springs from the 
whole number, was alone capable of making so much proceed therefrom. 

Need I also recall that M. Hermite obtained a surprising advantage 
from the introduction of continuous variables into the theory of num- 
bers ? Thus the whole number's own domain is itself invaded, and this 
invasion has established order where disorder reigned. 

See what we owe to the continuum and consequently to physical 
nature. 

Fourier's series is a precious instrument of which analysis makes 
continual use, it is by this means that it has been able to represent 
discontinuous functions; Fourier invented it to solve a problem of 
physics relative to the propagation of heat. If this problem had not 
come up naturally, we should never have dared to give discontinuity 
its rights; we should still long have regarded continuous functions as 
the only true functions. 

The notion of function has been thereby considerably extended and 
has received from some logician-analysts an unforeseen development. 
These analysts have thus adventured into regions where reigns the 
purest abstraction and have gone as far away as possible from the real 
world. Yet it is a problem of physics which has furnished them the 
occasion. 

After Fourier's series, other analogous series have entered the do- 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 181 

main of analysis; they have entered by the same door; they have been 
imagined in view of applications. 

The theory of partial differential equations of the second order has 
an analogous history. It has been developed chiefly by and for physics. 
But it may take many forms, because such an equation does not suffice 
to determine the unknown function, it is necessary to adjoin to it 
complementary conditions which are called conditions at the limits; 
whence many different problems. 

If the analysts had abandoned themselves to their natural tenden- 
cies, they would never have known but one, that which Madame 
Kovalevski has treated in her celebrated memoir. But there are a 
multitude of others which they would have ignored. Each of the 
theories of physics, that of electricity, that of heat, presents us these 
equations under a new aspect. It may therefore be said that without 
these theories we should not know partial differential equations. 

It is needless to multiply examples. I have given enough to be able 
to conclude : when physicists ask of us the solution of a problem, 
it is not a duty-service they impose upon us, it is on the contrary we who 
owe them thanks. 

IV 

But this is not all ; physics not only gives us the occasion to solve 
problems; it aids us to find the means thereto, and that in two ways. 
It makes us foresee the solution ; it suggests arguments to us. 

I have spoken above of Laplace's equation which is met in a multi- 
tude of diverse physical theories. It is found again in geometry, in 
the theory of conformal representation and in pure analysis, in that 
of imaginaries. 

In this way, in the study of functions of complex variables, the 
analyst, alongside of the geometric image, which is his usual instru- 
ment, finds many physical images which he may make use of with the 
same success. Thanks to these images he can see at a glance what pure 
deduction would show him only successively. He masses thus the 
separate elements of the solution, and by a sort of intuition divines 
before being able to demonstrate. 

To divine before demonstrating ! Need I recall that thus have been 
made all the important discoveries? How many are the truths that 
physical analogies permit us to present and that we are not in con- 
dition to establish by rigorous reasoning! 

For example, mathematical physics introduces a great number of 
developments in series. No one doubts that these developments con- 
verge; but the mathematical certitude is lacking. These are so many 
conquests assured for the investigators who shall come after us. 

On the other hand, physics furnishes us not alone solutions; it 
furnishes us besides, in a certain measure, arguments. It will suffice 



i82 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

to recall how Felix Klein, in a question relative to Riemann surfaces, . 
has had recourse to the properties of electric currents. 

It is true, the arguments of this species are not rigorous, in the 
sense the analyst attaches to this word. x\nd here a question arises : 
How can a demonstration not sufficiently rigorous for the analyst 
suffice for the physicist ? It seems there can not be two rigors, that 
rigor is or is not, and that, where it is not there can not be deduction. 

This apparent paradox will be better understood by recalling under 
what conditions number is applied to natural phenomena. Whence 
come in general the difficulties encountered in seeking rigor? We 
strike them almost always in seeking to establish that some quantity 
tends to some limit, or that some function is continuous, or that it 
has a derivative. 

Now the numbers the physicist measures by experiment are never 
known except approximately; and besides, any function always differs 
as little as you choose from a discontinuous function, and at the same 
time it differs as little as you choose from a continuous function. The 
physicist may, therefore, at will suppose that the function studied is 
continuous, or that it is discontinuous; that it has or has not a deriva- 
tive; and may do so without fear of ever being contradicted, either by 
present experience or by any future experiment. We see that with 
such liberty he makes sport of difficulties which stop the analyst. He 
may always reason as if all the functions which occur in his calculations 
were entire polynomials. 

Thus the sketch which suffices for physics is not the deduction which 
analysis requires. It does not follow thence that one can not aid in 
finding the other. So many physical sketches have already been trans- 
formed into rigorous demonstrations that to-day this transformation 
is easy. There would be plenty of examples did I not fear in citing 
them to tire the reader. 

I hope I have said enough to show that pure analysis and mathe- 
matical physics may serve one another without making any sacrifice 
one to the other, and that each of these two sciences should rejoice in 
all which elevates its associate. 



THE PROGRESS OF SCIEACE 



183 



THE PKOGKESS OF SCIENCE 



THE CONVOCATION WEEK 
MEETINGS 
The meetings of the American As- 
sociation for the Advancement, of Sci- 
ence and of the twenty-one national 
scientific societies affiliated with it, held 
in New York City from December 26 
to January 2, exhibited convincingly 
the great progress that has taken place 
in this country in scientific research 
and in scientific organization. Twenty 
years ago Brown Goode, who was better 
informed than any other in regard to 
the history of science ,in America, esti- 
mated that our scientific men num- 
bered about five hundred. There were 
about 2.500 scientific men at the New 
York meeting and about 800 scientific 
papers were presented before the sec- 
tions of the association and the special 
societies. The growth of our scientific 
institutions and ' the increase in the 
number of our scientific men appear to 



be in a geometric ratio. There are now 
at least 5,000 scientific men in the 
United States, and it is by no means 
impossible that twenty years hence the 
number will be 50,000. And this is 
but as it should be. There are 100,- 
000 physicians and 500,000 teachers in 
the country, and one half of the physi- 
cians and one tenth of the teachers 
might to advantage engage in scientific 
research. The nation can certainly 
afford to devote one tenth of its re- 
sources and one tenth of its people to 
ideal ends, and in the case of science 
the conditions are favorable also on the 
economic side, for the more we give to 
science the- more we receive from it. 

It seems almost impossible to select 
from the hundreds of scientific ad- 
dresses, papers and discussions any for 
special mention. Some people are dis- 
appointed because no great discovery is 
announced at such a meeting. As a 





Edward Kasxer, Professor of Mathematics Clifford Richardson, Director of the New 
in Columbia University, Vice-president for the York Testing Laboratories, Vice-president for 
Section of Mathematics and Astronomy. the Section of Chemistry. 



TEE VALUE OF SCIENCE 



185 




Alfred C. Lane, State Geologist of Michi- 
gan, Vice-president for the Section of Geology 
and Geography. 

matter of fact, the great discoveries in I 
the history of science are but few, and 
it is as a rule only in retrospect that 
they are seen in their true perspective. 
The doctrine of the origin of species by 
natural selection is probably one of 
the two great scientific advances of the 
past century, and it was clearly and 
dramatically announced at a certain 
meeting of the Linnean Society. Yet 
no one would expect the newspapers 
the next morning to devote their front 
pages to a report of the meeting. The 
work of the scientific men of the coun- 
try during the year was more im- 
portant for the people than the pro- 
ceedings of its congress and legisla- 
tures, and this work was in large 
measure reported at the New York 
meeting. Almost any one of the re- 
searches presented might be the subject 
of an interesting article; abstracts of 
all of them, so brief as to be unin- 
telligible, would fill a volume of the 
Monthly. 

The first article of the constitution 



of the American Association reads as 
follows: "The objects of the Associa- 
tion are, by periodical and migratory 
meetings, to promote intercourse be- 
tween those who are cultivating science 
in different parts of America, to give a 
stronger and more general impulse and 
more systematic direction to scientific 
research, and to procure for the labors 
of scientific men increased facilities and 
a wider usefulness." Certainly a meet- 
ing such as that of the present year 
does much to advance these objects. 
The council of the association, to which 
the affiliated societies now elect dele- 
gates, is a body truly representative of 
scientific research and of scientific men. 
Its functions in the future will prob- 
ably become more important than 
hitherto, for it is not only able to con- 
duct the business of the association, 
but to exert a predominant influence on 
the conditions which affect scientific 
progress. 

The retiring president of the Asso- 
ciation, Professor Calvin M. Woodward, 
known both as an engineer and for his 




Edwin G. Conki.in, Professor of Zoology in 
the University of Pennsylvania, Vice-president 
for the Section of Zoology. 




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Til E FROGRESS OF SCIENCE 



187 




\V. R. Warner, Presidentof theWarnerand 
Swasey Company, Vice-president of the Sec- 
tion for Mechanical Science and Engineering. 

leadership in introducing manual train- 
ing in the schools, chose as the sub- 
ject of his address ' The Science of 
Education,' and one of the most im- 
portant transactions of the association 
was the establishment of a section of 
education. A similar section of the 
British Association, established several 




years ago, has proved to be of much 
value, and there is reason to believe 
that this section, which begins au- 
spiciously with Dr. Elmer E. Brown, 
U. S. commissioner of education, as 
chairman, will accomplish much for 
tlie advancement of education as a sci- 
ence, for the teaching of science in the 
schools and colleges and for the im- 
provement of educational administra- 
tion in our schools, colleges and uni- 
versities. 

The section last established was one 
for physiology and experimental medi- 
cine, which at the present meeting 




Charles A. Conant, Treasurer of the Mor- 
ton Trust Company, Vice president for the 
Section for Social and Economic Science. 



Simon Flexner, Director of the Laborato- 
lies of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical 
Research, Vice-president for the Section of 
Physiology and Experimental Medicine. 

cooperated with the national societies 
devoted to physiology, anatomy, bac- 
teriology and psychology, and held a 
special session for the discussion of 
' Protozoa as Factors in the Diseases 
of Animals and Plants.' It is also 
noteworthy that for the first time, at 
least in recent years, a representa- 
tive of the medical sciences was presi- 
dent of the association, thus giving 
recognition to the fact that medicine 



i88 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



has now taken its place among the 
sciences. To this result perhaps no 
one in this country has contributed so 
much as Dr. W. H. Welch, of the 
Johns Hopkins University, who pre- 
sided over the New York meeting. He 
is succeeded in the presidency by Dr. 
E. L. Nichols, of Cornell University, 
who is eminent for his contributions 
to experimental physics and has at the 
same time exerted a great influence on 
educational development and scien- 
tific organization. The standard set 
by the presidency of the association 
is well maintained by the vice-presi- 
dents for the sections, who are as fol- 
lows : Mathematics and Astronomy. 
Professor E. 0. Lovett, Princeton Uni- 
versity; Physics, Professor Dayton C. 
Miller, Case School of Applied Science; 
Chemistry, Professor H. P. Talbot, 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology; 
Mechanical Science and Engineering, 
Professor Olin H. Landreth, Union Col- 
lege; Geology and Geography, Pro- 
fessor J. P. Iddings, University of 
Chicago; Zoology, Professor E. B. Wil- 
son, Columbia University; Botany, 
Professor C. E. Bessey, University of 
Nebraska ; Anthropology, Professor 
Franz Boas, Columbia University; Eco- 
nomics and Social Science, Dr. John 
Franklin Crowell, New York City; 
Physiology and Experimental Medi- 
cine, Dr. Ludvig Hektoen, University 
of Chicago; Education, Dr. Elmer E. 
Brown, U. S. Commissioner of Edu- 
cation. The meeting next year will be 
held at Chicago, where, as through- 
out Illinois and the adjacent states, 
science has in recent years begun to 
rival the earlier development on the 
Atlantic seaboard. 

THE CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR 
THE ADVANCEMENT OF 
TEACHING 
The first report of the president to 
the trustees of the Carnegie Founda- 
tion gives Mr. Carnegie's original 
letter, the certificate of incorporation 
in New York, the act of incorporation 
by the congress, the by-laws of the 



corporation, the report of the treas- 
urer, and the rules for granting re- 
tiring allowances, as well as an ac- 
count of what has been accomplished 
and a discussion of policy by Presi- 
dent Pritchett. As has already been 
announced, the pensions are of two 
kinds, one given at or after the age 
of sixty-five to men who have been 
professors for fifteen years, and one 
given after twenty-five years of serv- 
ice. The pensions are relatively larger 
for those having small salaries, be- 
ing arranged on a sliding scale of 
from nine tenths to one half the salary. 
The foundation may give a pension to 
the widow of a professor entitled to 
a retiring allowance, and has given 
pensions to disabled professors, though 
there is no clear provision covering 
the latter case. 

There are certain accepted institu- 
tions, at present fifty-two in number, 
whose professors receive the pensions 
automatically on application from the 
institution, and the foundation may 
award pensions to professors of other 
institutions. On October 1, there had 
been awarded forty-five allowances to 
professors in accepted institutions, 
thirty-five allowances to individual 
professors and eight allowances to 
widows. The average allowance to the 
first class is $1,552; to the second 
$1,302, and to the third $833. De- 
nominational institutions are excluded 
by the act of incorporation; the in- 
clusion of institutions supported by 
the state is under advisement. 

The report gives the accompanying 
summary of the salaries of the pro- 
fessors in American colleges. There 
is also included a history of the 
pensions of professors and a dis- 
cussion of standards of admission to 
universities and colleges. 

Mr. Carnegie's great benefaction 
will aid our universities, colleges and 
technical schools, and will thus of 
course be welcomed by their professors. 
Whether it will, as President Butler 
of Columbia University says in his 
annual report, ' lift one of the heaviest 



THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE 



189 



• 

Class of Institutions. 


No. of 
Institu- 
tions. 

218 
58 
51 


Total 
No. Pro- 
fessors. 


Total Amount 
Salaries. 


Average 

No. in 

Faculty. 


Average 
Pay-roll in 
Institution. 

$15,165 
45,120 
72,710 


Average 
Pay of a 
Professor. 


Denominational 

Non-Denominational . 


2,802 
1,461 

1,944 


$3,305,930 
2,617,210 
3,708,220 


13 
25 
38 


$1,180 
1,787 
1,907 




327 


6,207 


$9,631,360 





burdens that they have had to bear ' 
' from the shoulders of hundreds of 
hard-working and ill-compensated men ' 
is more problematical. These hard- 
working and ill-compensated professors 
are not so badly off after all, and if 
their salaries have not increased in 
proportion to the greater cost and 
higher standards of living, they should 
themselves see to it that justice is 
done. Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cor- 
nell and other universities already had 
pension systems as a matter of con- 
tract with their professors, and if it is 
intended that Mr. Carnegie's founda- 
tion shall be of benefit to the pro- 
fessors, their salaries should be in- 
creased by the amount of income set 
free. It is quite possible that pro- 
fessors will in the end be paid just 
so much the less, because pensions have 
been assured to them. The individual 
professor would probably have gained 
more and certain institutions would 
have gained less if the trustees had 
been professors instead of presidents. 

President Pritchett says in his re- 
port : " It is evident to the trustees 
that, to better the profession of the 
teacher and to attract into it increas- 
ing numbers of strong men, it is neces- 
sary that the retiring allowance should 
come as a matter of right, not as a 
charity. No ambitious and inde- 
pendent professor wishes to find him- 
self in the position of accepting a 
charity or a favor, and the retiring 
allowance system simply as a charity 
has little to commend it." But un- 
fortunately the pensions of widows and 
for disablement are at present on a 
charity basis. They should either be 
abandoned, or made so that they will 
accrue as a matter of contract. In 



the German universities a professor re- 
ceives his salary for life. He may 
cease lecturing if disabled by illness 
or old age, but he may continue to 
lecture as long as he sees fit to such 
students as care to hear him. In case 
of death a pension is provided for his 
widow and for each child. This is 
more satisfactory than the system pro- 
posed by the Carnegie Foundation. 
However, it might not be possible to 
adjust it to the American college. 
Certainly all professors and all scien- 
tific men should be sincerely grateful 
to Mr. Carnegie. But it is a mis- 
fortune that he did not make pro- 
fessors trustees of the Carnegie Foun- 
dation and scientific men trustees of 
the Carnegie Institution. 

THE SAND-DUNES OF THE 
DESERT OF ISLAY 

I It is a familiar fact that sand-dunes 
are carried along by the winds. Much 
labor and expense have been incurred 
in many localities, especially near the 

! sea, to prevent the damage which their 
movement inflicts on the neighboring 
country. These sand-hills are found in 
great numbers in nearly all the desert 
regions of the earth, and their forms 
and motions have been described by 
different writers. A recent volume of 
the Annals of the Harvard Observa- 
tory contains a somewhat elaborate 
discussion of the crescent-shaped sand- 
dunes of tbe Desert of Islay in Peru, 
by Professor S. I. Bailey, who observed 
tli em during eight years. 

The coast region of Peru is desert 
throughout its whole extent. In some 
places it is made up of barren hills, 
in others, of arid plains. The Pampa, 
or Desert of Islay, is bounded by the 



190 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



Andes, the Pacific, and the rivers Vitor 
and Tambo. Its length and breadth 
are about equal, perhaps fifty miles 
in extent. The mean elevation of the 
pampa is about four thousand feet, 
increasing toward the north. It is a 
great plain with occasional low hills, 
almost devoid of animal and vegetable 
life, except among the low hills facing 
the sea. It appears to have been 
formerly the bed of the ocean. The 
surface is composed of sand, sprinkled 



the wind, and the cusps lie in the 
direction of motion. Their size varies 
between rather wide limits. They are 
in general from one hundred to two 
hundred feet broad, and from ten to 
twenty feet high. They are composed 
entirely of a fine gray sand, and are 
moved along by the wind so perfectly 
that not only is the crescent form pre- 
served, but none of the sand is left 
behind to mark the passage. A casual 
glance at the surface of the pampa 




A Sand-dune on the Pe?ert of Islav. 



over with stones and small boulders, 
and ail occasional outcrop of rock. 
Scattered over the pampa, especially 
in its northern portion, are hundreds 
of crescent-shaped sand-dunes. Their 
form is always the same, approxi- 
mately that of the new moon, unless 
some unusual object is encountered by 
the dunes in their journey across the 
desert. Their motion seems to be 
always toward the north or northwest, 
in the same direction as that of the 
prevailing south and southeast wind. 
The convex surface is directed toward 



detects little if any of the sand which 
enters into the composition of the 
1 dunes. The same variety of sand is 
found, however, by digging beneath the 
surface. It appears that all the avail- 
able surface sand has already been 
collected by the wind into these sym- 
metrical heaps, and that, unless the 
surface is disturbed by some convul- 
sion of nature, the dunes may all 
finally disappear among the hills on 
the north of the desert. This theory 
seems to be confirmed by the abun- 
dance of dunes in the northern part of 



THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE 



191 



the desert, and their ahsence from the 
southern part. The motion is always 
to the north but varies somewhat with 
the season and the strength of the 
wind. Tables and curves are given in 
the discussion, showing the relations 
between the rate of motion and the 
wind. Only the comparatively strong 
winds are able to move the sand. 
During the year 1900 the wind was 
recorded stronger than ten miles per 
hour 1,477 times, of which the wind 
was southerly 1,414 times, and in all 
other directions only 63 times. The 
strongest winds are always southerly, 
reaching at times 20 miles per hour. 
Northerly winds are not strong and 
persistent enough to break up the 
symmetrical form of the dunes. The 
following brief table gives the mean 
monthlv motion of the dunes: 



Month. 



Movement. 

Feet per 

Month. 



Movement. 

Inches per 

Dav. 



January... 
February .. 

March 

April 

May 

June 

July 

August .... 
September 
October.... 
November 
December 



5.6 
7.1 
6.0 
3.4 
2.7 
3.2 
3.0 
3.<9 
5.9 
6.6 
80 
5.9 



2.2 
3.0 
2.3 
1.3 
1.1 
1.3 
1.2 
1.5 
2.4 
2.5 
3.2 
2.3 



The crescent shape is well preserved 
as the dune advances, except where the 
force or direction of the wind is affected 
by some adjacent object. The sand- 
dunes are formed in different parts of 
the desert, and move across it till they 
reach the hills on the northern border. 
These low hills are the burial places 
of the dunes. As individuals they go 
to pieces as soon as they touch these 
irregular formations, and become 
merely confused heaps of sand. As- 
suming the average journey, which 
they travel, to be twenty-five miles, 
since the mean yearly motion is about 
sixty-one feet, the life of a sand-dune 
may be estimated at more than 2,000 



years. Since the desert is somewhat 
broken in places by ravines- and low 
hills, it is probable that but few of 
them make the full journey without at 
some time losing their identity. 

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS 
The national scientific societies 
which met in New York City dur- 
ing convocation week elected presiding 
officers as follows: The American So- 
ciety of Naturalists, Professor J. Play- 
fair McMurrich, University of Michi- 
gan; The Astronomical and Astrophys- 
ical Society of America, Professor E. 
0. Pickering, Harvard College Obser- 
vatory; The American Mathematical 
Society, Professor H. S. White, Vassar 
College; The American Physical So- 
ciety, Professor E. L. Nichols, Cornell 
University; The American Chemical 
Society, Professor T. Marston Bogert, 
Columbia University; The Association 
of American Geographers, Professor 
Angelo Heilprin, Yale University; The 
American Physiological Society, Pro- 
fessor W. H. Howell, The Johns Hop- 
kins University; The Society of Verte- 
brate Paleontologists, Professor Bash- 
ford Dean, Columbia University, The 
American Entomological Society, Pro- 
fessor J. H. Comstock, Cornell Uni- 
versity; The American Botanical So- 
ciety, Professor George F. Atkinson, 
Cornell University; The American 
Psychological Association, Dr. Henry 
Rutgers Marshall. New Yoi'k City; 
The American Philosophical Associa- 
tion, Professor H. N. Gardiner, Smith 
College; The American Anthropological 
Society, Professor Franz Boas, Colum- 
bia University. 

Dr. William H. Welch, Dr. Henry 
S. Pritchett and the Hon. William H. 
Taft have been elected trustees of the 
Carnegie Institution. 



The Brazilian government proposes 
to establish a national geological sur- 
vey under the direction of Dr. O. A. 
Derby, who was for many years geolo- 
gist of the state of S. Paulo. Dr. 
Derby went to Brazil in 1875, as a 



192 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



member of the extinct commissao geo- 
logica, of which Professor C. F. Hartt 
was the chief. He has lived in Brazil 
ever since, and is the leading authority 
on Brazilian geology. — Professor J. A. 
Bownocker, of the State University, 
has been appointed state geologist of 
Ohio to succeed Professor Edward 
Orton, Jr., resigned. — The lords com- 
missioners of the admirality have ap- 
pointed Syndey S. Hough, Esq., F.R.S., 
chief assistant to the astronomer at 
the observatory, Cape of Good Hope, to 
be astronomer at that observatory on 
the retirement of Sir David Gill, 
K.C.B. 

Dr. William A. Noyes, head of the 
department of chemistry in the Bu- 
reau of Standards, and secretary and 
editor of the American Chemical So- 
ciety, has been elected professor of 
chemistry in the University of Illinois. 
■ — -Professor Ernest Rutherford, Mac- 
donald professor of physics in McGill 
University, has been appointed to suc- 
ceed Professor Schuster as Langworthy 
professor and director of the physical 
laboratories at the University of Man- 



chester. — Dr. William Duane, professor 
of physics in the University of Colo- 
rado, at Boulder, has resigned to accept 
a position in the Curie Radium Labo- 
ratory at Paris. The fund providing 
for Dr. Duane's work is the gift of Mr. 
Andrew Carnegie. 

At the annual banquet of the Na- 
tional Geographic Society the first 
award of its gold medal was made to 
Commander Peary. — Professor T. W. 
Richards has been elected an honorary 
member of the Royal Institution of 
Great Britain. — Mr. Alexander Agassiz 
has chartered the steam yacht Virginia 
for a cruise to the West Indies. The 
yacht will sail from New York the first 
week in February to be absent for 
three months. 

Mr. John D. Rockefeller has given 
the University of Chicago $2,700,000 
for its permanent endowment, and 
$217,000 for current expenses and spe- 
cial purposes. It is further reported 
that Mr. Rockefeller will give $3,000,- 
000 for a pension at the University 
of Chicago, and $2,000,000 for the pro- 
posed Louisville University. 



THE 
POPULAR SCIENCE 



MONTHLY 



MARCH, 1907 




A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 1 
I. Its Mediating Office 

By Professor WILLIAM JAMES 
Harvard University 



["N the preface to that admirable collection of essays of his called 
-*- Heretics, Mr. Chesterton writes these words: 

There are some people — and I am one of them — who think that the most 
practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We 
think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his in- 
come, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a 
general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy's numbers, 
but still more important to know the enemy's philosophy. We think the question 
is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether in the long 
run anything else affects them. 2 

I think with Mr. Chesterton in this matter. I know that you, 
ladies and gentlemen, have a philosophy, each and all of you, and 
that the most interesting and important thing about you is the way 
in which it determines the perspective in your several worlds. You 
know the same of me. And yet I confess to a certain tremor at the 
audacity of the enterprise which I am about to begin. For the 
philosophy which is so important in each of us is not a technical 
matter, it is our more or less dumb smse of what life honestly and 
deeply means. It is only partly got from books; it is our individual 
way of just seeing and feeling the total push and pressure of the cosmos. 

1 The first of a course of eight lectures on ' Pragmatism : A new name for 
an old way of thinking,' given before the Lowell Institute, Boston, and the 
Departments of Philosophy and Psychology, Columbia University. 

2 G. K. Chesterton, ' Heretics,' London and New York, 1905, p. 15. 

vol. lxx. — 13. 



i94 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

I have no right to assume that many of you are students of the cosmos 
in the class-room sense, yet here I stand desirous of interesting you 
in a philosophy which to no small extent has to be technicaly treated. 
I wish to fill you with sympathy with a contemporaneous tendency in 
which I profoundly believe, and yet I have to talk like a professor to 
you who are not students. Whatever universe a professor believes in 
must at any rate be a universe that lends itself to lengthy discourse. 
A universe definable in two sentences is something for which the pro- 
fessorial intellect has no use. No faith in anything of that cheap 
kind ! I have heard friends and colleagues try to popularize philos- 
ophy in this very hall, but they soon grew technical, and then dry, and 
the results were only partially encouraging. So my enterprise is a 
bold one. The founder of pragmatism himself recently gave a course 
of lectures at the Lowell Institute with that very word in its title — 
flashes of brilliant light relieved against Cimmerian darkness ! None 
of us, I fancy, understand all that he said — yet here I stand, making 
a very similar venture. 

I risk it because the very lectures I speak of drew — they brought 
good audiences. There is, it must be confessed, a curious fascination 
in hearing deep things talked about, even though neither we nor the 
disputants understand them. We get the problematic thrill, we 
feel the presence of the vastness. Let a controversy begin in a 
smoking-room anywhere, about free-will or God's omniscience, or good 
and evil, and see how every one in the place pricks up his ears. Phi- 
losophy's results concern us all most vitally, and philosophy's queerest 
arguments tickle agreeably our sense of subtlety and ingenuity. 

Believing in philosophy myself devoutly, and believing also that 
a kind of new dawn is breaking upon us philosophers, I feel impelled, 
per fas aut nefas, to try to impart to you some news of the situation. 

Philosophy is at once the most sublime and the most trivial of 
human pursuits. It both works in the minutest crannies and opens 
out the widest vistas. It e bakes no bread,' as has been said, but it 
can inspire our souls with courage; and repugnant as its manners, its 
doubting and challenging, its quibbling and dialectics, often are to 
common people, no one of us can get along without the far-flashing 
beams of light it sends over the world's perspectives. These illumina- 
tions, at least, and the contrast-effects of darkness and mystery that 
accompany them, give to what it says an interest that is more than 
professional or technical. 

The history of philosophy is to a great extent that of a certain 
clash of human temperaments. Undignified as such a treatment may 
seem to some of my colleagues, I shall have to take account of this 
clash and explain a good many of the divergencies of philosophers by 
it. Of whatever temperament a professional philosopher is, he tries 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 195 

when philosophizing to sink the fact of his temperament, Tempera- 
ment is no conventionally recognized reason, and he urges impersonal 
reasons only for his conclusions. Yet his temperament really gives 
him a stronger bias than any of his more strictly objective premises. 
It loads the evidence for him one way or the other, making for a 
more sentimental or a more hard-hearted view of the universe, just 
as this or that fact or principle would. He trusts his temperament. 
Wanting a universe that suits it, he believes in any representation of 
the universe that does suit it. He feels men of opposite temper to 
be out of key with the world's character, and in his heart considers 
them incompetent, and 'not in it,' in the philosophic business, even 
though they may far excel him in dialectical ability. 

Yet in the forum he can make no claim, on the bare ground of his 
temperament, to superior discernment or authority. There arises thus 
a certain insincerity in the philosophic discussion. The potentest of 
all our premises is never mentioned. I am sure it would contribute 
to clearness if in these lectures we should break this rule and mention 
it, and I accordingly feel free to do so. 

Of course I am talking here of very positively marked men, men 
of radical idiosyncracy, who have set their stamp and likeness on 
philosophy and figure in its history. Plato, Locke, Hegel, Spencer,, 
are such temperamental thinkers. Most of us have, of course, no 
very definite intellectual temperament, we are a mixture of opposite 
ingredients, each one present very moderately. We hardly know our 
own preferences, in abstract matters; some are easily talked out of 
them, and end by following the fashion or taking up with the beliefs 
of the most impressive philosopher in their neighborhood, whoever he 
may be. But the one thing that has counted so far in philosophy is that 
a man should see things, see them straight in his own peculiar way, 
and be dissatisfied with any opposite way of seeing them. There is 
no reason to suppose that this strong temperamental vision is from now 
onward to count no longer in the history of man's beliefs. 

Now the particular difference of temperament that I have in mind 
in making these remarks is one that has counted in literature, art, 
government and manners as well as in philosophy. In manners we 
find formalists and free and easy persons. In government, authori- 
tarians and anarchists. In literature, purists or academicals, and 
realists. In art, classics and romantics. You recognize these con- 
trasts as familiar; well, in philosophy we have a very similar con- 
trast expressed in the pair of terms ' rationalist ' and i empiricist,' ' em- 
piricist ' meaning your lover of facts in all their crude variety, ' ra- 
tionalist ' meaning your devotee to abstract and eternal principles. 
]NTo one can live an hour without both facts and principles, so it is 
a difference rather of emphasis, yet it breeds antipathies of the most 



1 96 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

pungent character between those who lay the emphasis differently ; and 
we shall find it extraordinarily convenient to express a certain con- 
trast in men's ways of taking their universe, by talking of the ' em- 
piricist ' and of the ' rationalist ' temper. These terms make the con- 
trast simple and massive. 

More simple and massive than are usually the men of whom the 
terms are predicated. For every sort of permutation and combination 
is possible in human nature; and if I now proceed to define more 
fully what I have in mind when I speak of rationalists and empiricists, 
by adding to each of those titles some secondary qualifying character- 
istics, I beg you to regard my conduct as to a certain extent arbitrary. 
I select types of combination that nature offers very frequently, but 
by no means uniformly, and I select them solely for their convenience 
in helping me to my ulterior purpose of characterizing pragmatism. 
Historically we find the terms ' intellectualism ' and ' sensationalism ' 
used as synonyms of ' rationalism ' and ' empiricism.' Well, nature 
seems to combine most frequently with intellectualism an idealistic 
and optimistic tendency. Empiricists on the other hand are not un- 
commonly materialistic, and their optimism is apt to be decidedly 
conditional and tremulous. Eationalism is always monistic. It starts 
from wholes and universals and makes much of the unity of things. 
Empiricism starts from the parts, and makes of the whole a collection 
— is not averse therefore to calling itself pluralistic. Eationalism 
usually considers itself more religious than empiricism, but there is 
much to say about this claim, so I merely mention it. It is a true 
claim when the individual rationalist is what is called a man of 
feeling, and when the individual empiricist prides himself on being 
hard-headed. In that case the rationalist will usually also be in favor 
of what is called free-will, and the empiricist will be a fatalist — I use 
the terms most popularly current. The rationalist finally will be of 
dogmatic temper in his affirmations, while the empiricist may be more 
sceptical and open to discussion. 

I will write these traits down in two columns. I think you will 
practically recognize the two types of mental make-up that I mean 
if I head the columns by the titles ' tender-minded ' and ' tough- 
minded ' respectively. 

The Tender-minded The Tough-minded 

Rationalistic (going by ' principles '), Empiricist (going by ' facts '), 

Intellectualistic, Sensationalistic, 

Idealistic, Materialistic, 

Optimistic, Pessimistic, 

Religious, Irreligious, 

Freewillist, Fatalistic, 

Monistic, Pluralistic, 

Dogmatical. Sceptical. 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 197 

Pray postpone for a moment the question whether the two con- 
trasted mixtures which I have written down are each inwardly coherent 
and self-consistent or not — I shall very soon have a good deal to say 
on that point. It suffices for our immediate purpose that tender- 
minded and tough-minded people, characterized as I have written them 
down, do both exist. Each of you probably knows some well-marked 
example of each type, and you know what each example thinks of the 
example on the other side of the line. They have a low opinion of 
each other. Their antagonism, whenever as individuals their tempera- 
ments have been intense, has formed in all ages a part of the philo- 
sophic atmosphere of the time. It forms a part of the philosophic 
atmosphere to-day. The tough think of the tender as sentimentalists 
and soft-heads. The tender feel the tough to be unrefined, callous, 
or brutal. Their mutual reaction is very much like that that takes 
place when Bostonian tourists mingle with a population like that of 
Cripple Creek. Each type believes the other to be inferior to itself; 
but disdain in the one case is mingled with amusement, in the other 
it has a dash of fear. 

Now, as I have already insisted, few of us are tender-foot Bos- 
tonians pure and simple, and few are typical Rocky Mountain toughs, 
in philosophy. Most of us have a hankering for the good things on 
both sides of the line. Facts are good, of course — give us lots of facts. 
Principles are good — give us plenty of principles. The world is in- 
dubitably one if you look at it in one way, but as indubitably is it 
many, if you look at it in another. It is both one and many — let us 
adopt a sort of pluralistic monism. Everything, of course, is neces- 
sarily determined, and yet of course our wills are free: a sort of 
free-will determinism is the true philosophy. The evil of the parts 
is undeniable ; but the whole can't be evil : so practical pessimism may 
be combined with metaphysical optimism. And so forth — your ordi- 
nary philosophic layman never being a radical, never straightening 
out his system, but living vaguely in one plausible compartment of 
it or another to suit the temptations of successive hours. 

But some of us are more than mere laymen in philosophy. We 
are worthy of the name of amateurs, and are vexed by too much incon- 
sistency and vacillation in our creed. We cannot preserve a good in- 
tellectual conscience so long as we keep mixing incompatibles from 
opposite sides of the line. 

And now I come to the first positively important point which I 
wish to make. Never were as many men of a decidedly empiricist 
proclivity in existence as there are at the present day. Our children, 
one may say, are almost born scientific. But our esteem for facts has 
not neutralized in us all religiousness. It is itself almost religious. 
Our scientific temper is devout. Now take a man of this type, and 



1 98 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

let him be also a philosophic amateur, unwilling to mix a hodge-podge 
system after the fashion of a common layman, and what does he find 
his situation to be in this blessed year 1906? He wants facts; he 
wants science; but he also wants a religion. And being an amateur 
and not an independent originator in philosophy he naturally looks 
for guidance to the experts and professionals whom he finds already 
in the field. A very large number of you here present, possibly a 
majority of you, are amateurs of just this kind. 

Now what sorts of philosophy do you find actually offered to meet 
your need? You find an empirical philosophy that is not religious 
enough, and a religious philosophy that is not empirical enough for 
your purpose. If you look to the quarter where facts are most con- 
sidered you find the whole tough-minded program in operation, and 
the ' conflict between science and religion ' in full blast. Either it 
is that Eocky Mountain tough of a Haeckel with his materialistic 
monism, his ether-god and his jest at our God as a ' gaseous vertebrate,' 
or it is Spencer treating the world's history as a redistribution of 
matter and motion solely, and bowing religion politely out at the 
front door : she may indeed continue to exist, but she must never 
show her face inside the temple. 

For one hundred and fifty years past the progress of science has 
seemed to mean the enlargement of the material universe and the 
diminution of man's importance. The result is what one may call the 
growth of naturalistic or positivistic feeling. Man is no lawgiver to 
nature, he is an absorber. She it is who stands firm ; he it is who must 
accommodate himself. Let him record truth, cold though it be, and 
submit to it ! The romantic human spontaneity is gone, the vision is 
materialistic and depressing. Ideals appear as inert by-products of 
physiology, what is higher is explained by what is lower and treated 
forever as a case of ' nothing but ' — nothing but something else of a 
quite inferior sort. You get, in short, a materialistic universe, in 
which only the radically tough-minded can live congenially. 

If now, on the other hand, you turn to the religious quarter for 
consolation, and take counsel of the tender-minded philosophies, what 
do you find? 

Eeligious philosophy in our day and generation is, among us 
English-reading people, of two main types. One of these is more 
radical and aggressive, the other has more the air of fighting a slow 
retreat. By the more radical wing of religious philosophy I mean the 
so-called transcendental idealism of the Anglo-Hegelian school, the 
philosophy of such men as Green, the Cairds, Bosanquet and Eoyce. 
This philosophy has greatly influenced the more studious members of 
our protestant ministry. It is pantheistic, and undoubtedly it has 
already blunted the edge of the traditional theism in protestantism 
at large. 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 199 

That theism remains, however. It is the lineal descendent, 
through one stage of concession after another, of the dogmatic scho- 
lastic theism still taught rigorously in the seminaries of the Catholic 
Church. For a long time it used to be called among us the philosophy 
of the Scottish school. It is what I meant by the philosophy that has 
the air of fighting a slow retreat. Between the encroachments of the 
Hegelians and other ' philosophers of the absolute/ on the one hand, 
and those of the scientific evolutionists and agnostics, on the other, the 
men that give us this kind of a philosophy, James Martineau, Pro- 
fessor Bowne, Professor Ladd and others, must feel themselves rather 
tightly squeezed. Fair-minded and candid as you like, this philosophy 
is not radical in temper. It is eclectic, a thing of compromises, that 
seeks a modus vivendi above all things. It accepts the facts of Dar- 
winism, the facts of cerebral physiology, but it does nothing active or 
enthusiastic with them. It lacks the victorious and agressive note. 
It lacks prestige in consequence, whereas absolutism has a certain 
prestige due to the more radical style of it. 

These on the whole are what you have to choose between if you turn 
to the tender-minded school. And if you are the lovers of facts I 
have supposed you to be, you find the trail of the serpent of rational- 
ism, of intellectualism, over everything that lies on that side of the 
line. You escape indeed the materialism that goes with the reigning 
empiricism; but you pay for your escape by losing contact with the 
concrete parts of life. The more absolutistic philosophers dwell on so 
high a level of abstraction that they never even try to come down. 
The absolute mind which they offer us, the mind that makes our 
universe by thinking it, might, for all they ever tell us to the con- 
trary, have made any one of a million other universes just as well as 
this. You can deduce no single actual particular from the notion of 
it. It is compatible with any state of things whatever being true here 
below. And the theistic God is almost as sterile a principle. You 
have to go to the world which he has created to get any inkling of his 
actual character, he is the kind of God that has once for all made that 
kind of a world. Yet the theistic writers do not replace the old 
rationalist definitions of him by any new empirical constructions. 
Their system still lives on purely abstract heights. Absolutism has a 
certain sweep and dash about it, while the usual theism is more 
'insipid.' But both are equally remote and vacuous. What you 
want is a philosophy that will not only exercise your powers of intel- 
lectual abstraction, but that will also make connection with this actual 
world of our own finite human experiences. 

You want a system that will combine both things, the scientific 
loyalty to facts and willingness to take account of them, the spirit of 
adaptation and accommodation, in short, but also the old confidence 



2oo POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

in human values and the resultant spontaneity — and this is then your 
dilemma. You find the two parts of your qucesitum hopelessly sepa- 
rated, you find empiricism with irreligion; or else a rationalistic phi- 
losophy that indeed may call itself religious but that keeps out of all 
definite touch with concrete facts and joys and sorrows. 

I am not sure how many of you live close enough to philosophy to 
realize fully what I mean by the last reproach, so I will dwell a little 
longer on that unreality in all rationalistic systems by which your 
serious believer in facts is so apt to feel repelled. 

I wish that I had saved the first couple of pages of a thesis which 
a student handed me a year or two ago. They illustrated my point 
so clearly that I am sorry I can not read them to you now. This 
young man, who was a graduate of some western college, began by 
saying that he had always taken for granted that when you entered 
a philosophic class-room you had to open relations with a universe 
entirely distinct from the one you left behind you in the street. The 
two were supposed, he said, to have so little to do with each other, that 
you could not possibly occupy your mind with them at the same time. 
The world of concrete personal experiences to which the street belongs 
is multitudinous beyond imagination, tangled, muddy, painful and 
perplexed. The world to which your philosophy-professor introduces 
you is simple, clean and noble. The contradictions of real life are 
absent from it. Its architecture is classic. Principles of reason 
trace its outlines, logical necessities cement its parts. Purity and 
dignity are what it most expresses. It is a kind of marble temple 
shining on a hill. 

In point of fact it is far less an account of this actual world than 
a clear addition built upon it, a classic sanctuary in which the rational- 
ist fancy may take refuge from the intolerably confused and gothic 
character which mere facts present. It is no explanation of our con- 
crete universe, it is another thing altogether, a substitute for it, a 
remedy, a way of escape. 

Its temperament, if I may use the word temperament here, is 
utterly alien to the temperament of existence in the concrete. Re- 
finement is what characterizes our intellectualist philosophies. They 
exquisitely satisfy that craving for a refined object of contemplation 
which is so powerful an appetite of the mind. But I ask you in all 
seriousness to look abroad on this colossal universe of concrete facts, 
on their awful bewilderments, their surprises and cruelties, on the 
wildness which they show, and then to tell me whether ' refined ' is the 
one inevitable adjective that springs to your lips, when you endeavor 
to express the temperament of what you see. 

Refinement has its place in things, true enough. But a philosophy 
that breathes out nothing but refinement will never satisfy the em- 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 201 

piricist temper of mind. It will seem rather a monument of arti- 
ficiality. So we find men of science preferring to turn their backs on 
metaphysics as on something altogether cloistered and spectral, and 
practical men shaking philosophy's dust off their feet and following the 
call of the wild. 

Truly there is something a little ghastly in the satisfaction with 
which a pure but unreal system will fill a rationalist mind. Leibnitz 
was a rationalist mind, with infinitely more interest in facts than 
most rationalist minds can show. Yet if you wish for superficiality 
incarnate, you have only to read that charmingly written Theodicee 
of his, in which he sought to justify the ways of God to man, and to 
prove that the world we live in is the best of possible worlds. Let me 
quote a specimen of what I mean. 

Among other obstacles to his optimistic philosophy, it falls to 
Leibnitz to consider the number of the eternally damned. That it is 
infinitely greater, in our human case, than that of those saved he as- 
sumes as a premise from the theologians, and then proceeds to argue 
in this way. Even then, he says : 

The evil will appear as almost nothing in comparison with the good, if we 
once consider the real magnitude of the City of God. Coelius Secundus Curio 
has written a little hook, ' De Amplitudine Eegni Coelestis,' which was reprinted 
not long ago. But he failed to compass the extent of the kingdom of the heavens. 
The ancients had small ideas of the works of God. ... It seemed to them that 
only our Earth had inhabitants, and even the notion of our antipodes gave them 
pause. The rest of the world for them consisted of some shining globes and a 
few crystalline spheres. But to-day, whatever be the limits that we may grant 
or refuse to the Universe we must recognize in it a countless number of globes, 
as big as ours or bigger, which have just as much right as it has to support 
rational inhabitants, though it does not follow that they need all be men. Our 
earth is only one among the six principal satellites of our sun. As all the fixed 
stars are suns, one sees how small a place among visible things our earth takes 
up, since it is only a satellite of one among them. Now all these suns may be 
inhabited by none but happy creatures; and nothing obliges us to believe that 
the number of damned persons is very great; for a very feiv instances and samples 
ivould suffice for the utility which good draios from evil. Moreover, since there 
is no reason to suppose that there are stars everywhere, may there not be a great 
space beyond the region of the stars? And this immense space, surrounding all 
this region, . . . may be replete with happiness and glory. . . . What now be- 
comes of the consideration of our Earth and of its denizens? Does it not 
dwindle to something incomparably less than a physical point, since our earth is 
but a point compared with the distance of the fixed stars. Thus the part of the 
universe which we know, being almost lost in nothingness compared with that 
which is unknown to us, and yet which we are obliged to admit; and all the 
evils that we know lying in this almost-nothing; it follows that the evils may be 
almost-nothing in comparison with the goods that the Universe contains. 

Leibnitz continues elsewhere : 

There is a kind of justice which aims neither at the amendment of the 
criminal, nor at furnishing an example to others, nor at the reparation of the 



202 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

injury. This justice is founded in pure fitness, which finds a certain satisfac- 
tion in the expiation of a wicked deed. The Socinians and Hobbes objected to 
this punitive justice, which is properly vindictive justice and which God has 
reserved for himself at many junctures. ... It is always founded in the fitness 
of things, and satisfies not only the offended party, but all wise lookers-on, even 
as beautiful music or a fine piece of architecture satisfies a well-constituted mind. 
It is thus that the torments of the damned continue, even though they serve no 
longer to turn any one away from sin, and that the rewards of the blest con- 
tinue, even though they confirm no one in good ways. The damned draw to 
themselves ever new penalties by their continuing sins, and the blest attract 
ever fresh joys by their unceasing progress in good. Both facts are founded on 
the principle of fitness, . . . for God has made all things harmonious in perfec- 
tion as I have already said. 

Leibnitz's feeble grasp of reality is too obvious to need comment 
from me. It is evident that no realistic image of the experience of 
a damned soul had ever entered his mind. Nor had it occurred to him 
that the smaller is the number of l samples ' of the genus lost-soul 
whom God throws as a sop to the eternal fitness, the more unequitably 
grounded is the glory of the blest. What he gives us is a cold literary 
exercise, whose cheerful substance even hell-fire does not warm. 

And do not tell me that to show the shallowness of rationalist 
philosophizing I have had to go back to a shallow wigpated age. The 
optimism of present-day rationalism sounds just as shallow to the fact- 
loving mind. The actual universe is a thing wide open, but rational- 
ism makes systems, and systems must be closed. Perfection for men 
in practical life is something far off and still in process of achieve- 
ment. This for rationalism is but the illusion of the finite and 
relative. The absolute ground of things is a perfection eternally 
complete. 

I find a splendid example of revolt against the airy and shallow 
optimism of current religious philosophy in a publication of that 
valiant anarchistic writer Morison I. Swift. Mr. Swift's anarchism 
goes a little farther than mine does, but I confess that I sympathize 
a good deal, and some of you, I know, will sympathize heartily with his 
dissatisfaction with the idealistic optimisms now in vogue. He begins 
his pamphlet on ' Human Submission ' with a series of city reporter's 
items from newspapers (suicides, deaths from starvation and the like) 
as specimens of our civilized regime. For instance: 

After trudging through the snow from one end of the city to the other in 
the vain hope of securing employment, and with his wife and six children with- 
out food and ordered to leave their home in an upper east-side tenement house 
because of non-payment of rent, John Corcoran, a clerk, to-day ended his life by 
drinking carbolic acid. Corcoran lost his position three weeks ago through ill- 
ness and during the period of idleness his scanty savings disappeared. Yester- 
day he obtained work with a gang of city snowshovelers, but he was too weak 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 203 

from illness and was forced to quit after an hour's trial with the shovel. Then 
the weary task of looking for employment was again resumed. Thoroughly dis- 
couraged, Corcoran returned to his home last night to find his wife and children 
without food and the notice of dispossession on the door. On the following 
morning he drank the poison. 

The records of many more such cases lie before me [Mr. Swift goes on] ; an 
encyclopedia might easily be filled with their kind. These few I cite as an inter- 
pretation of the Universe. ' We are aware of the presence of God in his world ' 
says a writer in a recent English review. [The very presence of ill in the tem- 
poral order is the condition of the perfection of the eternal order, writes Pro- 
fessor Royce ('The World and the Individual,' II., 385) .] ' The Absolute is the 
richer for every discord and for all the diversity which it embraces,' says F. H. 
Bradley (' Appearance and Reality,' 204). He means that these slain men make 
the universe richer, and that is philosophy. But while Professors Royce and 
Bradley and a whole host of guileless thoroughfed thinkers are unveiling Reality 
and the Absolute and explaining away evil and pain, this is the condition of the 
only beings known to us anywhere in the universe with a developed conscious- 
ness of what the universe is. What these people experience is Reality. It gives 
us an absolute phase of the universe. It is the personal experience of those best 
qualified in our circle of knowledge to have experience, to tell us what is. Now 
what does thinking about the experience of these persons come to, compared to 
directly and personally feeling it as they feel it? The philosophers are dealing 
in shades, while those who live and feel know truth. And the mind of mankind 
— not yet the mind of philosophers and of the proprietary class — but of the 
great mass of the silently thinking men and feeling men, is coming to this view. 
They are judging the universe as they have hitherto permitted the hierophants 
of religion and learning to judge them. . . . 

This Cleveland workingman, killing his children and himself, is one of the 
elemental stupendous facts of this modern world and of this universe. It can 
not be glozed over or minimized away by all the treatises on God, and Love, 
and Being, helplessly existing in their monumental vacuity. This is one of the 
simple irreducible elements of this world's life, after millions of years of oppor- 
tunity and twenty centuries of Christ. It is in the mental world what atoms or 
sub-atoms are in the physical, primary, indestructible. And what it blazons to 
man is the imposture of all philosophy which does not see in such events the 
consummate factor of all conscious experience. These facts invincibly prove 
religion a nullity. Man will not give religion two thousand centuries or twenty 
centuries more to try itself and waste human time. Its time is up; its probation 
is ended; its own record ends it. Mankind has not reons and eternities to spare 
for trying out discredited systems. . . . What is man that thou art mindful of 
him? Why, the answer is that thou art not mindful of him. Thou permittest 
him to die like a weed, though with all the fiery sorrow that a sentient being 
can feel. 3 

Such is the reaction of an empiricist mind upon the rationalist 
bill of fare. It is an absolute ' No, I thank you.' ( Keligion,' says 
Mr. Swift, ' is like a sleep walker to whom actual things are blank.' 
And such, though possibly less tensely charged with feeling, is the 
verdict of every seriously inquiring amateur in philosophy to-day who 
turns to the philosophy-professors for the wherewithal to satisfy the 
fullness of his nature's needs. Empiricist writers give him a material- 

3 Morrison I. Swift, ' Human Submission,' Part Second, Philadelphia, Lib- 
erty Press, 1905, pp. 4-10. 



2o 4 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

ism, rationalists give liim something religious, but to that religion 
' actual things are blank.' He becomes thus the judge of us philos- 
ophers. Tender or tough, he finds us wanting. None of us may treat 
his verdicts disdainfully, for after all, his is the typically perfect mind, 
the mind the sum of whose demands is greatest, the mind whose 
criticisms and dissatisfactions are fatal in the long run. 

It is at this point that my own solution begins to appear. I offer 
the oddly-named thing pragmatism as a philosophy that can satisfy both 
kinds of demand. It can remain religious like the rationalisms, but 
at the same time, like the empiricisms, it can preserve the richest 
intimacy with facts. I hope I may be able to leave many of you with 
as favorable an opinion of it as I preserve myself. Yet, as I am near 
the end of my hour, I will not introduce pragmatism bodily now. I 
will begin with it on the stroke of the clock next time. I prefer at the 
present moment to return a little on what I have said. 

If any of you here are professional philosophers, and some of you 
I know to be such, you will doubtless have felt my discourse so far 
to have been crude in an unpardonable way in an almost incredible 
degree. Tender-minded and tough-minded, what a barbaric disjunc- 
tion! And, in general, when philosophy is all compacted of delicate 
intellectualities and subtleties and scrupulosities, and when every pos- 
sible sort of combination and transition obtains within its bounds, 
what a brutal caricature and reduction of highest things to the lowest 
possible expression is it to represent its field of conflict as a sort of 
rough and tumble fight between two hostile temperaments ! What a 
childishly external view ! And again, how stupid it is to treat the 
abstractness of rationalist systems as a crime, and to damn them be- 
cause they offer themselves as sanctuaries and places of escape, rather 
than as prolongations of the world of facts. Are not all our theories 
just remedies and places of escape? And, if philosophy is to be 
religious, how can she be anything else than a place of escape from 
the crassness of reality's surface? What better thing can she do than 
raise us out of our animal senses and show us another and a nobler 
home for our minds in that great framework of ideal principles sub- 
tending all reality, which the intellect divines? How can principles 
and general views ever be anything but abstract outlines? Was 
Cologne cathedral built without an architect's plan on paper? Is re- 
finement in itself an abomination ? Is concrete rudeness the only thing 
that's true ? 

Believe me, I feel the full force of the indictment. The picture I 
have given is indeed monstrously over simplified and rude. But like 
all abstractions, it will prove to have its use. If philosophers can 
treat the life of the universe abstractly, they must not complain of an 
abstract treatment of the life of philosophy itself. In point of fact 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 205 

the picture I have given is, however coarse and sketchy, literally true. 
Temperaments with their cravings and refusals do determine men in 
their philosophies, and always will determine them. The details of 
systems may be reasoned out piecemeal, and when the student is work- 
ing at a system, he may often forget the forest for the single tree. But 
when the labor is accomplished, the mind performs its big summarizing 
act, and the system stands over against one like a living thing, with 
that strange simple note of individuality which haunts our memory, 
like the wrath of the man, when a friend or enemy of ours is dead. 

Not only Walt Whitman could write ' who touches this book touches 
a man/ The books of all the great philosophers are like so many men. 
Our sense of an essential personal flavor in each one of them, typical 
but indescribable, is the finest fruit of our own accomplished philo- 
sophic education. What the system pretends to be is a picture of the 
great universe of God. What it is, — and oh so flagrantly ! — is the 
revelation of how intensely odd the personal flavor of some fellow crea- 
ture is. Once reduced to these terms (and all our philosophies get 
reduced to them in minds made critical by learning) our commerce 
with the systems reverts to the informal, to the instinctive human 
reaction of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. We grow as peremptory in 
our rejection or admission, as when a person presents himself as a 
candidate for our favor. Our verdicts are couched in as simple ad- 
jectives of praise or dispraise. We measure the total character of the 
universe as we feel it, against the flavor of the philosophy proffered 
us, and one word is enough. 

' Statt der lebendigen Natur,' we say, ' Da Gott die Menschen schuf 
hinein,' — that nebulous concoction, that wooden, that straight-laced 
thing, that crabbed artificiality, that musty school-room product, that 
sick man's dream ! Away with it. Away with all of them ! Im- 
possible ! Impossible ! 

Our work over the details of his system is indeed what gives us our 
resultant impression of the philosopher, but it is on the resultant im- 
pression itself that we react. Expertness in philosophy is measured 
by the deflniteness of one's summarizing reactions, by the immediate 
perceptive epithet with which the expert hits such complex objects off. 
But great expertness is not necessary, for the epithet to come. Few 
people have definitely articulated philosophies of their own. But 
almost everyone has his own peculiar sense of a certain total char- 
acter in the universe, and of the inadequacy fully to match it of the 
particular systems that he knows. They don't just cover his world. 
One will be too dapper, another too pedantic, a third too much of a 
job-lot of opinions, a fourth too morbid, and a fifth too cloistered, or 
what not. At any rate he, and we, know off-hand that such philos- 
ophies are out of plumb and out of key and out of ' whack/ and have 



2o6 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

no business to speak up in the universe's name. Plato, Locke, Spinoza, 
Mill, Caird, Hegel — I prudently avoid names nearer home ! — I am 
sure that to many of you, my hearers, these names are little more than 
reminders of as many curious personal ways of falling short. It would 
be an obvious absurdity if such ways of taking the universe were 
actually true. 

We philosophers have to reckon with such feelings on your part. 
In the last resort, I repeat, it will be by them that all our philosophies 
shall ultimately be judged. The finally victorious way of looking at 
things will be the most completely impressive way to the normal run 
of minds. 

One word more — namely about philosophies necessarily being ab- 
stract outlines. There are outlines and outlines, outlines of buildings 
that are fat, conceived in the cube, by their planner, and outlines of 
buildings invented flat on paper, with the aid of ruler and compass. 
These remain skinny and emaciated even when set up in stone and 
mortar, and the outline already suggests that result. An outline in 
itself is meagre, truly, but it does not necessarily suggest a meagre 
thing. It is the essential meagreness of what is suggested by the usual 
rationalistic philosophies that moves empiricists to their gesture of 
rejection. The case of Herbert Spencer's system is much to the point 
here. Eationalists feel his fearful array of insufficiencies. His dry 
schoolmaster temperament, the hurdy-gurdy monotony of him, his 
preference for cheap makeshifts in argument, his lack of education 
even in mechanical principles, and in general the vagueness of all his 
fundamental ideas, his whole system wooden, as if knocked together 
out of cracked hemlock boards — and yet the half of England wants to 
bury him in Westminster Abbey. 

Why ? Why does Spencer call out so much reverence in spite of his 
weakness in rationalistic eyes? Why should so many educated men 
who feel that weakness, you and I perhaps, wish to see him in the 
Abbey notwithstanding? 

Simply because we feel his heart to be in the right place philo- 
sophically. His principles may be all skin and bone, but at any rate 
his books try to mold themselves upon the particular shape of this par- 
ticular world's carcase. The noise of facts resounds through all his 
chapters, the citations of fact never cease, he emphasizes facts, turns his 
face towards their quarter; and that is enough. It means the right 
hind of thing for the empiricist mind. 

The pragmatistic philosophy of which I hope to begin talking in 
another article preserves as cordial a relation with facts, and, unlike 
Spencer's philosophy, it neither begins nor ends by turning positive 
religious constructions out of doors. It treats them cordially as well. 

I hope I may lead you to find it just the mediating way of thinking 
that you require. 



THE CENTURY PLANT 207 



THE CENTURY PLANT, AND SOME OTHER PLANTS OF 

THE DRY COUNTRY 1 



By Professor WILLIAM TRELEASE 

MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN 



TT would be interesting if we might know whether Columbus and his 
-L fellow voyagers noticed what is oddly called 'bamboo' by the 
present islanders, when they first saw the Bahamas in the autumn of 
1492. The plant, a striking one even to us, must have seemed still 
stranger to Europeans at that time, for although Meyer and others 
have attempted to show that the century plant was known in the 
Mediterranean country as early as the eleventh century, and claim has 
even been made to its recognition among the mural paintings of 
Pompeii, a thousand years earlier still, Agave represents an essentially 
American and very distinct type of vegetation which must have been 
novel to those travelers into a new world. At any rate — they had little 
time for botanizing — there is no evidence that this conspicuous element 
in the Bahamian landscape was among the strange animals and plants 
that they paraded on their return home, and, curiously enough, it re- 
mains to-day without a published description or tenable scientific name. 

The discoverers must have seen at least one other species of the 
same type when, during this first voyage, they found the Greater An- 
tilles; and the busy quarter of a century which followed, with its addi- 
tions of the Lesser Antilles, upper South America, and a part of the 
Gulf coast to the map of the world, undoubtedly revealed others. 

The native name e maguey,' which still persists in Porto Rico for a 
species of the related genus Furcrcea, was mentioned in Martyr's book 
of 1516, and seems to have sufficiently impressed itself on the minds 
of the adventurers to assume a generic quality, for they later trans- 
ferred it to the fleshy-leaved agaves of Mexico, which the aborigines 
knew as ' metl,' from which it is easily inferred that they had repeatedly 
seen and discussed and inquired about these strange fleshy-leaved plants 
with tall candelabrum-like inflorescence. 

The most familiar of these plants in our gardens has long borne the 
popular name of century plant. Everybody knows it — or thinks that he 
knows it — to-day. Its rather narrow, somewhat grayish-green leaves 
have a peculiar curvature and their ends frequently arch downwards in 
a characteristic hooked form, while the prickles on their margins stand 

'A lecture delivered in the Field Museum Course at Chicago, on October 
13, 1906. 



2o8 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

on marked fleshy hummocks, and the short stout end spine is not con- 
tinued down the border as it is in some species. Perhaps even com- 
moner than the typical form are one with bright yellow stripes down the 
sides of the leaves, and another with rather faint yellow lines distrib- 
uted over the surface; and a still finer but much less common variety 
has a broad stripe of yellow down the center of the leaf. Among 
the cultivated variegated century plants one yellow-margined form, with 
the green parts of a darker shade and the end spine long and slender, 
has been distinguished for half a century under the name A. picta; but, 
as with the variegated forms of A. Americana, nothing is known as to 
its source or the first date of its appearance. Like the unvariegated 
form, these yellow-margined plants are now becoming established along 
the Italian Riviera. 

When the American aloe, as it has often been called, was a novelty 
in Europe, its flowering was one of the wonders of the world. Not only 
did its size and form and the great age reached by some plants before 
flowering excite interest, but odd rumors seem to have gone abroad con- 
cerning its behavior. One of these gives indirect evidence of the long 
persistence of a colloquial expression familiar to most of us to-day, for 
Philip Miller, nearly two hundred years ago, gravely assured the British 
public that the flowers of this plant do not really open with a report 
like that of firing a gun, the then prevalent impression that they do so 
probably coming from a misinterpretation of somebody's statement that 
the flowering of a century plant ' made a great noise/ The phenomenon 
has now become so common as to attract no attention about the Mediter- 
ranean region, on the Channel Islands, and in the warmer parts of our 
own country, where the plants grow out of doors and flower when they 
are ten or fifteen years old; but it is still a matter of much interest in 
the colder countries where they require the protection of glass houses 
and develop slowly enough to suggest, if not quite to justify, their 
popular name. 

The century plant shares with or even surpasses the true bamboo in 
its reputation of offering most of the necessities of human life. Food, 
drink, clothing, building material, forage, military barricades, razor- 
strops with soap and brush, medicine, pins, needles, paper, glue and 
a red coloring matter are said to be afforded by it. 

It is true that most of the indicated uses may be made of it, but 
as a matter of fact the real century plant is very little used except for 
ornament or as a hedge plant, though its leaf fiber is firm, fine and 
white and used to a limited extent for the better class of cordage or 
for a stiff thread peculiarly adapted to some of the ornamental lace- 
work of the Azores and Mediterranean countries. Nearly all its reputed 
uses actually refer to different if sometimes superficially similar plants 
which have been mistaken for it, and the literature of e Agave Ameri- 
cana ' is chaotic enough to tax the patience of even a botanist. 



THE CENTURY PLANT 



209 



Perhaps the most curious thing that I can say of the real Agave 
Americana is that nobody knows to-day where to seek it as a spontane- 
ous plant, and, except about the Mediterranean, where it has spread 
extensively, it seems to be found only as an obvious local escape from 
cultivation. It looks very much as if the Spanish conquerors took 
home, as one of their first illustrations of the maguey, a decorative 
rather than a much-used plant, which even then probably existed only 
in cultivation. 

The traveler through that wonderfully interesting dry region to 
the southwest of us, the Mexican tableland, has his attention at- 
tracted by many of these candelabrum-bearing agaves. Even before 
reaching Laredo, if he go by that gateway into the neighboring republic, 




Fig. 1. Oddly called Bamboo. 



he may see one large species, A. asperrima. If he enter by way of El 
Paso from the east, another, A. Parry i, may draw his notice, or, coining 
from the west, he may have seen another, A. Palmeri; and toward 
Nogales, the entrance point for Sonora, one of the most striking of 
them, with almost globose clusters of leaves, A. Huachucensis, is visible 
from the train. 

One of the most effective of these landscape-making plants covers 
certain mountain-sides near Tehuacan, a health resort which every 
visitor to Oaxaca and the wonderful ruins of Mitla passes through 
after leaving Puebla. Its stately panicles are of a brilliant yellow, 
and more beautiful than those of the ordinary century plant; and its 
great rough leaves are so marbled with alternating greener and grayer 
cross bands that it has received the distinctive name A. marmorata. 

VOL. LXX. — 14. 



2IO 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




Fig 2. Agave Picta. 



Elsewhere about the same city, in company with a full dozen other 
distinguishable agaves, is an abundance of the beautiful little white- 
leaved plant, now popular in gar- 
dens, which was named A. Ver- 
scliajfeltii after its importer, some 
forty years ago. 

Even in Mexico it is the 
planted rather than the wild 
agaves that attract attention. 
Hedgerows or dooryard specimens 
of them are found everywhere, and 
in the region to the south of the 
City of Mexico ■ there are many 
miles of territory seemingly de- 
voted entirely to their cultivation. 
Phalanx after phalanx of them 
stretches away to the horizon as the 
train speeds through, with hardly 
a sign of other vegetation except 
for a cottonwood or pepper tree 
now and then where water happens 
to occur, or a cypress marking 
the resting place of the dead. Through this district, centering about 
the little town of Apam, it is almost exclusively the dark green giant, 
A. atrovirens, which is grown, 
though, as with extensively culti- 
vated plants elsewhere, in nu- 
merous horticultural varieties 
which look much alike to the bot- 
anist but are distinguished by the 
planter. Over thirty such forms 
are said to be planted in the 
plains of Apam. In the imme- 
diate suburbs of the capital city, 
about Tacubaya, and locally else- 
where in this central district, other 
forms, differing even to the un- 
specialized eye, are similarly grown 
in quantity. As one passes to the 
colder regions of the north or de- 
scends from the table-land into the 
hot country, still other and dif- 
ferent looking species of the same 

type replace A. atrovirens, which, however, far outnumbers and sur- 
passes them all in its aggregate farm importance. These plantations 




Fig. 3. Dockyard Specimens. 



THE CENTURY PLANT 



211 



are the basis of the pulque industry of Mexico — at once a large item 
in its agricultural wealth, and one of the greatest curses to its peon 
population, many of whom arc kept in poverty and sottishness 
through it. 

A philosophical historian- notes that man has never remained con- 
tent with water as a beverage, and that agriculture, affording a means 
of obtaining abundant intoxicants as one possible and alluring substi- 
tute, has borne the curse of drunkenness in all ages. The discoverers 
of the new world found the cultivation of the maguey or nietl, and 
the production of a fermented drink, ' octli ' or ' pulque/ from its sap, 




Fig. 4. The Dakk Green Giant. 



an established industry, which even then had worked its fatal course 
with the Toltec race. 

The present traffic in pulque is large. Something over five million 
barrels of it are used in the Mexican republic every year, of which 
quantity about half is consumed in the capital city and much of the 
remainder in Puebla and the other large cities of the central plateau. 
Cheap as it is, for it sells for from one to three cents of Mexican money 
for a large glass, its aggregate value amounts to several million dol- 
lars gold, a year. Special trains are run into the City of Mexico every 
morning for its delivery, as is clone with the milk supply of our own 
cities. 

2 Payne, 'History of the New World,' 1: 401, 404. 



212 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



In the Apam district, the plantations are chiefly found on the large 
haciendas or estates. The first impression of a traveler who passes from 
Vera Cruz to the capital is likely to be wrong if, as is usually the case, 
he regard the table-land — so barren after the tropical vegetation in 
and below the coffee country — as a desert with this strange industry as 
its one resource. The observant person, however, sees, usually with 
surprise, enormous stacks of straw here and there in the maguey 
fields, each commonly marked with a great carved cross or other sym- 
bol, and all carefully trimmed into house form ; and a shrewd infer- 




Fig. 5. In Gardens in Sicily. 



•ence that where there is a good deal of straw there must be some grain 
is justified on a closer acquaintance with the country. 

A first visit to a Mexican hacienda is an interesting episode in 
one's traveling experiences. Comfort, as we understand it, is scarcely 
to be had in the dustier regions during the dry season; and as one 
looks over the barren country it is hard to see where food is obtained 
for the swarm of peon retainers for whom even a church is not lacking 
in the walled village which their dwellings constitute. The wealth of 
such an estate is found in its extent. I recall the surprise with which, 



THE CENTURY PLANT 213 

after a day of blinding dust on a hacienda within sight of the 
great snow peak of Orizaba, as I asked myself how people could find a 
living in such a place, I noticed the arrival of a wagon-load of dry 
fodder in the enclosure, quickly followed by another and another 
and still others, until some twenty had come in — each drawn by five 
mules. Then I began to realize the number of draft animals alone 
that were engaged in bringing in the night's food for the others, and 
was less surprised when, in droves of twenty or fifty, sheep and 
cattle began to appear from remote points — until I ceased counting 
and returned to my original question with even greater wonder. It is 
on these large estates that the maguey — almost the only green thing 
to be seen in the long dry season — finds its place as one of the many 
forms of agricultural resource; the ground between them being fre- 
quently made to yield an annual grain or other crop which the agaves 
supplement as, here and there, they mature one at a time. 

The pulque maguey is a large plant, and its rosette of thick leaves, 
though appearing to lie next the ground, is really spaced along a stout 
trunk as large as a small barrel. The whole, charged with sap, weighs 
several tons. If left to itself, as it is in gardens on the Kiviera, where 
it is called A. Salmiana, like the century plant it produces a gigantic 
scape, topped with a candelabrum of flowers, when somewhere in the 
neighborhood of fifteen years old. This is never permitted on the 
large plantations, for the plant possesses its maximum value when it 
has reached vegetative maturity and the scape is about to develop. At 
the critical moment, known from the appearance of the central bud, 
this is cut out and a shallow cavity is made in the crown of the 
trunk, which is covered by a stone, pieces of maguey leaves, or other 
protection. Into the cavity so formed the sap exudes. It is removed 
two or three times a day, the surface being scraped and the cavity 
slightly enlarged each time, until at last nothing but a thin shell of the 
trunk remains, the leaves meantime having given up their content of 
fluid and dried to their hard framework — as happens naturally during 
the flowering period of all the larger agaves, when the reserve of sap 
is drawn into the rapidly growing scape and flowers. 

For a period of three months or more a good plant yields a gallon 
or two of sap daily, and its value may be not far from ten dollars on 
an average; from which it will be seen that a large maguey plantation 
represents a considerable item in the assets of a landed proprietor of 
the plains of Apam. 

Often the peons who cut the matured plants fasten part of the- 
bud leaves on to the spines of the outer ones, so that those in bearing 
may not be overlooked as the tour of the plantation is made by the 
laborers who gather the sap. One of these men, making his rounds, 
is an odd sight. Over his back, usually separated from it by a zarape 
or blanket if he is fortunate enough to have one, or by a piece of 



214 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




Fig. 6. A Shell of the Trunk. 



sacking if he is so poor as 4o feel compelled to reserve his zarape for 
dress occasions, is swung from his forehead by a head-yoke a pig-skin, 
supported by a sac, or more usually by a coarse net of cordage, and 
sticking out from its open top is to be seen a long gourd of the type 
that we call the Hercules club. In his hand he carries a short curved 
knife. Plodding from one bearing plant to another, the Indian stops 
at each long enough to uncover the cavity in its crown, press the smaller 
end of the gourd to its bottom and, by sucking at the upper end, draw 
into the lower part of the gourd the exuded sap, and thrust the gourd 
over his shoulder into the pig-skin bag on his back — his finger mean- 
time stopping the upper hole so that the fluid may not run out until 
he wishes it to. A quick scraping of the cavity follows, the stone or 



THE CENTURY PLANT 215 

other cover is replaced, and he passes on. Sometimes he trudges home 
with his burden as often as the pig-skin is filled; but on the larger 
haciendas a burro, saddled with large bags of the same kind, awaits 
him at one side of the field, and the work continues until at length 
man and donkey go in with a full load. 

The fluid which collects in the hollowed trunk of a cut maguey 
plant and is gathered in the manner described, is called ' agua miel,' 
or honey-water, because of its sweetness : nine or ten per cent, of its 
weight is sugar, and this furnishes the basis for the alcoholic fermenta- 
tion which is the chief factor in its conversion into pulque. The agua 
miel of the Apam district is thin, clear and colorless. It is of a rather 
pleasant taste if dipped from the plant in a gourd and free from 
drowned insects, but fact or fancy gives it various reminiscent flavors 
under other circumstances. 

The fermentation practises in pulque making are still mostly 
primitive. I have had a Mexican gentleman tell me that although 
when the agua miel was gathered and fermented in a way to please 
him he considered it a delicious drink, he would not think of touching 
pulque as offered, for instance, at the railway station in Apam — where 
the conversation occurred. The vats used are of ox-hide stretched on 
frames, and they are usually three or four feet wide and nearly as 
deep. Fermentation is begun by the introduction of a starter or 
'mother of pulque' obtained by preliminary fermentation, and is 
carried on without, or at most with little, artificial control of tempera- 
ture, and under conditions of positive or negative cleanliness which 
differ with the various haciendas. 

When marketed, the pulque is a white, decidedly viscous fluid con- 
taining about eight per cent, of alcohol; fermentation has not been 
solely alcoholic, however, and its flavor is in part due to changes 
wrought by bacteria of several kinds which are introduced with the 
starter in company with the yeast. Continuation of the action of these 
collateral ferments causes the beverage to spoil in a day or two under 
ordinary conditions. 

Familiar sights about Apam and in the capital are wagons loaded 
with the large casks in which pulque is transported from the haciendas 
to the railroad and again to the gaudily colored but often disreputable 
and usually filthy shops where it is dispensed — from open barrels 
into which glasses are plunged by hand with no greater care to prevent 
contact with the human person than marks some of the earlier stages 
in the conversion of grape juice into wine — and the patrons of which 
are not prepossessing. 

Where the maguey, though capable of cultivation, yields a lesser 
or inferior product, agua miel is often more appreciated in its unfer- 
mented state. As hawked around the streets of Monterey, for instance, 
in porous earthenware receptacles, it is a cool yellowish fluid, that I 



2l6 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



must confess I find refreshing on a hot day — especially after I have 
seen it gathered by means of a long-spouted tin pump and transported 
in tin cans; and the limpid, yellowish, cidery, foamy product of its 
fermentation in the north is more to my taste than the white, viscous, 
odoriferous pulque of the Apam district — which alone pleases the adept. 
With smaller production of pulque away from this center, more 
primitive methods of transportation persist; the shipping cask of the 
large producer, carried by a special train, may be replaced by the 
burro-borne pig-skin; and, as I have observed in Tuxpan, the pulque 
shop may give way to the street hawker, with an earthenware olla, the 
contents of which from time to time are freshened up by being sucked 
into and allowed to gush back, frothing, from a gourd of the sort used 




Fig. 



Making his Rounds. 



in gathering the agua miel — the bowls of customers being filled by aid 
of the same convenient implement. 

Considerable medicinal virtue has been claimed for pulque, and 
some efforts have been made to specially prepare, bottle and Pasteurize 
it for medicinal or even table use, but, except in the region of its pro- 
duction, where it is the common beverage, the bulk of it is used as an 
intoxicant, pure and simple. From it is also produced a rather small 
quantity of distilled liquor, ' mezcal de pulque.' 

Away from the central district, where the product of a single plan- 
tation is not sufficient to keep a fermentation establishment in profitable 
operation, it is sometimes the practise of the growers to sell their plants, 
as they mature, one by one, to a maker of pulque, whose employees, 
trudging from one to another, attend to cutting them and gathering 
their sap. Under these conditions, or where the market is still less 
certain, the plants frequently succeed in sending up their scapes. 



THE CENTURY PLANT 



2 i 7 




Fig. 8. Man and Dun key. 

woody exterior, and cut into disks 
a few inches long which may be 
seen peddled around the streets in 
Durango, for instance — to be split 
into strips and chewed like sugar- 
cane. If a distillery is at hand, 
the leaves are often cut away from 
a plant of this sort, or one that has 
not been allowed to form its quiote, 
above their very thick ' pencas ' or 
bases, and the trunk, so prepared, 
is marketable for the manufacture 
of mezcal. From data obtained of a 
peon, I once figured out that away 
from the principal pulque region 
the value of a plant is practically 
the same whether cut for agua miel 



Sometimes flowering is permitted, 
and the plant yields nothing more 
than a light rafter-pole, capable of 
being sliced into good razor-strops, 
a little green fodder for the cattle, 
and a few dried leaves that may 
be used for thatching a hut. At 
other times the stalk, or l quiote,' 
is cut down before the flowers have 
too far sapped it, stripped of its 





Fig. 9. Where Pulqie is Sold. 



Fig. 10. Frothing from a Gourd. 

or, after harvesting its quiote, sold 
to the mezcal distillery. 

Mezcal is a term applied com- 
prehensively to the liquor obtained 
by distillation from the fermented 
juices of agaves. Four or five mil- 
lion gallons of it a year are pro- 
duced, and its value may amount 
to some $2,000,000 gold. The 
center for the manufacture of this 
beverage is to the west of Guada- 
lajara, and the town of Tequila, 
situated there, has imposed its 
name on the higher grade of 
liquor, which is clear, smoky, rather 
smooth, and with a characteristic 
essential flavor; it usually con- 
tains forty or fifty per cent, of 



218 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



alcohol, and, like pulque, possesses certain medicinal properties. 

Like pulque, mezcal is sold cheaply. It is to be found everywhere 
and contributes largely to the demoralization of the native peon, who 
often drinks it to excess and, like many another human type, commits 
most of his crimes when influenced by alcohol. Those who watched 
for the threatened revolution of the sixteenth of September last, prob- 
ably noticed that the very wise head of the republic forestalled any large 
demonstration by seeing that drinking places were closed throughout 
the country. 

To supply the distilleries at Tequila, a considerable acreage is 
planted to mezcal agaves. Those most used there belong to a well- 
marked, narrow-leaved species which a few years ago received the ap- 
propriate and distinctive name A. Tequilana. As with the pulque spe- 




FlG. Jl. QUIOTE. IN DURANGO. 



cies, a number of horticultural forms of this are recognized. The leaves 
are generally glaucous, and a field of these white plants produces a 
striking effect. If allowed to bloom, this, too, develops a striking and 
large candelabrum of flowers; but, like the pulque maguey, it is har- 
vested when mature but before its saccharine food reserve has been 
exhausted in the production of flowers and fruit. The leaves are cut 
back to their thick bases and the trunks, so trimmed, are packed — 
usually on mules — to the distillery, where, after a preliminary roasting, 
still in rather primitive smoky pits, they are converted into a mash 
which is fermented in large wooden tanks and then distilled in modern 
apparatus, much as is clone in the production of liquors elsewhere. At 
these modern stills, the bagasse from which the mash has been squeezed 
by rollers is even packed away by half-naked laborers to be used to feed 
the furnaces. 



THE CENTURY PLANT 219 

* 

In addition to this mezcal de Tequila — or plain ' tequila,' that 
made direct from the maguey trunks, and the mezcal de pulque already 
referred to, a great deal of this sort of liquor is made from wild agaves 
.of many kinds, throughout the length and breadth of Mexico ; indeed a 
common if not universal distinction is made between the large 
4 maguey ' species and the smaller ones, which are called 'mezcal' 
like the beverage obtained from them. The process is everywhere essen- 
tially the same in so far as the preliminary roasting and fermenting 
processes are concerned; but the stills vary from the ordinary retort 
type in its simplest form, with a ' worm ' cooled by flowing water, to 
the most primitive apparatus by which a paying part of the alcohol 
may be condensed into fluid form while making its escape from 
the kettle. 

While at Mitla, a few years ago. I was directed to a distillery of 
this latter kind, not far from the prehistoric ruins for which the place 
is famed, and my companion and I were permitted to make photographs 
showing trimmed agave trunks newly brought in from the surrounding 
mountains and sheltered from the sun while kept in storage, fuel for 
the roasting pit, the wooden mash barrels and the maul used in crush- 
ing the roasted material, the ox-hide fermentation vats supported on 
rude frames of crooked wood, and the very primitive still of glazed 
earthenware kettles, set over a crude oven, each capped with a saucer- 
like metallic cover which was cooled as far as this could be done by a 
stream of mountain water, while below it a funnel caught the con- 
densed liquor and passed it through a reed spout into a waiting small 
receptacle. 

In northwestern Mexico, ' mezcal ' is largely replaced by ' sotol ' as 
the distilled drink of the peon. This liquor, which has the general 
character of the former, is said to be made in a similar manner from 
the trunks of several species of the saw-leaved lilies (Dasylirlon) 
which are commonly known as sotol and in the stock country are 
frequently split open to enable animals to get at the pulpy nutritious 
contents of their stems. 

Among the early stories of the new world was an account of the 
roasting of maguey trunks, and their use as food. They do not appear 
to be largely used in this manner now, except by the nomadic Indians. 
In the days of the Apaches, the roasting and eating of mezcal was 
frequently noted, and the botanist or geologist who gets back into the 
mountains still occasionally sees it. On our side of the boundary, 
however, I understand that spectators are not welcomed at a mezcal 
roast; and the impression has been left on the mind of one of my 
friends that what was not eaten of the product was likely to undergo 
fermentation and be saved from becoming a total loss by the aid of the 
still — a practise on which our government does not smile so com- 
placently as does that of the adjoining republic. Old mezcal pits are 



220 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




not uncommon in southern Ari- 
zona, where Agave Palmeri was 
much eaten; and they are to be 
seen in the Grand Canyon, in 
northern Arizona, where A. U ta- 
li ensis is abundant. 

The most important economic 
agaves are not the source of alco- 
bol, but those which yield ' hene- 
quen,' — a native name introduced 
by Oviedo only a few years after 
Yucatan was discovered. This, so 



Fig. 12. White Plants. 

far as Mexico is concerned, is prac- 
tically a product of Yucatan, though 
some of the other tropical states 
yield a small quota, and it has a 
yearly value of some $30,000,000 
gold. A large part of it comes to 
the United States for use in cord- 
age, etc., under the name ' sisal 
hemp ' or ' sisal grass,' which is 
derived from a port of shipment. 
Our imports for the past three 
years average about $15,000,000 
annually. 

Most of the agaves have a 
strong fiber in their leaves, the use 
of which is prehistoric. That of 
the century plant is particularly 
white and fine, and, as I have said, 
is considerably used. The fiber of 
the pulque species, from the man- 
ner in which the sap is gathered, 
is little used; the very fleshy-leaved 





Fig. 13. Half-naked Laborers. 



Fig. 14. Sotol. 

species are also hard to clean. 
The Tequila mezcal is said to pro- 
duce a good quality of fiber, which 
— its harvesting not interfering 
with the main use of the plants — 
is coming to be regarded as a 
valuable by-product of this species ; 
and several other agaves are either 
cultivated on a smaller scale for 



their fiber or exploited as they occur spontaneously. 



THE CENTURY PLANT 221 

Henequen, however, is par-excellence the fiber agave. An inter- 
esting minor chapter in our national evolution is contained in the 
numerous appeals made to Congress about seventy years ago by our 
former consul at Campeche, Henry Perrine, who desired a land grant 
in subtropical Florida for the cultivation of this and other tropical 
plants. The grant cost him his life, for he was killed by the Indians, 
and the zone of henequen in this country scarcely goes beyond the 
radius of his own tentative introduction of plants; but the Yucatan 
industry, which in Dr. Perrine's day was small, though he saw a great 
future for it if only the fiber could be less laboriously cleaned than it 
then was by hand, has grown greatly, and the Bahamas, India, Hawaii 
and tropical Africa are entering the field with more or less realization 
of their expectations of gain from this crop. 

Like the pulque maguey and the Tequila mezcal, henequen is repre- 
sented in the larger plantations by several horticultural forms if not 
by more than one distinct species. The one most grown in Yucatan 
appears to be the taller form with long, narrow, prickly leaves, gener- 
ally known to foreigners as white or gray henequen — and usually, but 
wrongly, designated by botanists as Agave rigida elongata. A better 
fiber plant is the entire-leaved green henequen, called Agave Sisalana 
by Perrine, also, but to a smaller extent, grown in Yucatan, and now 
spontaneous in tropical Florida from Perrine's importation. It is this 
which has been introduced into the Bahamas and Hawaii, though both 
the gray and green forms are being experimented with elsewhere. 

The utilization of a henequen plant is not effected abruptly at the 
end of its life, as with the pulque and mezcal species, but, after a 
wait of five or six years, it extends over a period of from seven to four- 
teen years, during which the annual yield is said to be from 20 to 40 
leaves per plant in several gatherings — the number of mature leaves 
removed each year determining the longer or shorter period during 
which cropping may continue. One of the difficulties experienced in 
trying to cultivate henequen away from the limestone terraces of 
Yucatan has been that it goes to seed at too early an age, for this ends 
its usefulness instead of at the same time bringing it to fruition as is 
the case with the plants grown for pulque or mezcal, though its ex- 
piring energy is said to be then thrown into leaf production by cutting 
out the scape at its inception. 

The cultivation of henequen in Yucatan is comparable with that of 
the maguey on the plains of Apam, in that it is now chiefly in the 
hands of large proprietors. Plantations are extensive, and the mills 
for cleaning the fiber are proportionately large. The older leaves 
are cut, at such intervals and in such numbers as the condition of the 
plants is thought to warrant, and, after the prickles have been sliced 
from their edges, trucked or carried on tram roads to the mill, where, 
while they are still fresh, by means of some form of rotary scraper 



222 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



(an idea tersely suggested by Perrine, and for the successful application 
of which, as I read, a large sum was later paid to another) the pulp 
is removed. The fiber, suitably washed and dried, is then baled for 
export. In the state of Vera Cruz a plant of the same group has 
recently come into local prominence, and is said to be considerably 
planted under the name ' zapupe,' and to yield an excellent fiber. 

One of the agaves longest known in gardens is that for which bot- 
anists are now restoring the name A. Vera Cruz which Miller applied 
to it, following its earlier polynomial designation of 'Aloe America 
ex Vera Cruce foliis latioribus et glaucis.' Like the henequen, it 
yields a fiber for which it is somewhat cultivated in the state of Vera 
Cruz; and I understand that it is this species to which the 'Agave 
Americana' of Indian fiber-culture reports refers. 

In India, for a century and a half or more, has been known another 
agave which is properly called A. Cantula, though it is frequently 




Fig. 15. Palma Zamandoque. 



spoken of under the name A. Eoxburgliii, which was given to it later. 
Erroneously, it is even more often designated by the name A. vivipara, 
which, as used by Linnams, belongs to a very different plant common 
in the Greater Antilles. This species, the source of a considerable 
quantity of Indian fiber which is known in the market as Bombay aloe, 
and of a small but increasing amount of Philippine fiber under the 
name ' Manila aloe,' is a close relative of the Tequila mezcal. Ade- 
quate study will probably result in its final positive identification 
with some American species; but at present it shares with another 
Indian species of the same group the distinction of representing in Asia 
a genus otherwise exclusively American — if the generally discredited 
hypothesis that the century plant is indigenous to the Mediterranean 
region be not true. 

In comparison with the great cultures of henequen, all of the other 



THE CENTUBY PLANT 223 

utilization of agaves for fiber is of rather small importance. Never- 
theless, considerably more than a million dollars' worth of so-called 
' ixtle ' fiber is marketed in Mexico each year, in addition to a very 
large quantity used locally for lassoes and other cordage and the like. 
From the port of shipment, ixtle is commonly known as Tampico fiber. 
Our imports for the last three years average about one and a quarter 
million dollars in value. Unlike henequen, this is the product of 
several distinct plants, of which a number belong to the very different 
genera Yucca, Samuela and Hesperaloe, and in the tropics the name 
is also applied to Bromelia fiber; but the larger part of the Tampico 
fiber is obtained from two dwarf species of A gave. Comparatively little 
of it comes from large plantations, except in the warm region above 
Tampico, where extensive jdanting is now being undertaken — and a 
large part of the exported ixtle is obtained from this district. Aside 
from its Hesperaloe (' Zamandoque ') and Samuela (' Palma Zaman- 
doque") constituents, the longer grade of Tampico fiber — which even 
then is shorter than henequen — seems to be produced chiefly by an 
agave spontaneous as well as cultivated in the state of Tamaulipas, and 
known botanically as A. Funhiana. In the cooler country, especially 
in the states of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, a shorter fiber is obtained 
from the closely related wild ' lecheguilla/ the native name of which 
has been adapted by botanists into Agave Lecheguilla. 

On the plantations, and possibly to a very slight extent elsewhere, 
the fiber is cleaned by machinery, much as henequen is ; but a great deal 
of it is still prepared laboriously by hand. It is here the central bud 
or ' cogollo ' of young leaves, which is used, and not the harder old ones, 
and the pulp is removed from the fiber by means of a hand scraper of 
metal used against a supporting block of wood. 

In the northern part of the republic, where, as in western Texas, 
lecheguilla is extremely abundant over a large area, the extracted 
fiber, sometimes used for brushes, bath pledgets, etc., is usually spun by 
hand into cords or these into ropes on a primitive rope-walk, a child 
twirling the strands as they grow from the apron-like bag of fiber 
carried by the spinner. This is the common cordage of the country, and 
is used for tying purposes, lariats and the like, as well as to make 
sacking, saddle-bags, and the head-yokes with which the human beast 
of burden always goes provided in that land. Visitors to Monterey 
are often interested in the rope-walks, which may be seen anywhere 
in the outskirts of the city, as well as in the manufacture of the 
lecheguilla cord into coarse bagging which is effected in an equally 
laborious and simple manner — the cord being woven into oblong mats 
which are then folded across the middle and stitched down the sides, 
everything being done by hand. The charm of these simple sights 
to the tourist is largely enhanced by the general friendliness of the 
workers, who are usually willing to chat or be photographed and whose 



224 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




Fig 16. Sechnguilla. 



affection for their children is an 
unfailing and very pleasing sight, 
but the poverty of their homes, 
only too evident to even the less 
prying sight-seer, is scarcely com- 
pensated for even in this affection 
— which appears to me the best 
quality of the Mexican peon. 

The lecheguilla agave well pic- 
tures a division of the genus in 
which the flowers are clustered 
along the upper part of the scape 
instead of being disposed on the 
branches of a candelabrum-like 
top. Of this type is further the 
'guapilla '— A. falcata — a very 
narrow-leaved small species of the 
region about Saltillo, which also 
yields good ixtle. 

The minor uses of agaves are 
hardly worthy of detailed mention 
in comparison with their commer- 
cially important use as a source of 
fiber and alcohol. These uses, 
however, are many, as I have 
already said. Under the name 
1 amole ' one may buy in most 
Mexican market places either leaf 
bases of agaves like A. filifera or, 




Fig. 17. Spinning and Weaving. 



THE CENTURY PLANT 



225 



more commonly, rootstocks of the so-called herbaceous species, for use as 
vegetable soap; the claim has recently been made that the sap from 
henequen leaves in process of cleaning can be converted into a valuable 
glue; and from the time of the Aztecs innumerable domestic uses have 
been found for one part or another of these interesting plants. 

So far as inference may go, it was none of the agaves of the earlier 
discovered West Indies or Yucatan which was first taken across the 
water, in small specimens for gardeners to care for and grow into some 
semblance to their native form and size, but one or more species from 
Mexico proper, to illustrate the wonderful ' metl ' of that land. The 
importation may have been made very soon after the conquest of Mexico 
by Cortez, but I find no record concerning it. It is even questionable 
what species was actually first taken over. The first tangible record of 
an Agave in Europe is given by 
Clusius, a Belgian botanist who, 
traveling through Spain somewhat 
more than a generation after the 
conquest of Mexico, found an aloe 
of this kind sparingly cultivated at 
Valencia, where he obtained off- 
sets which he took home, and one 
of which he figured in 1576. 
While this first picture probably 
represents A. Americana, as it is 
usually supposed to do, it must be 
admitted that it resembles also 
the common pulque maguey of 
the table-land, even then an 
important plant, but which is 
not known to have been in Eu- 
ropean gardens before the middle 
of the century just closed. In 
1586 an American aloe flowered at Florence, and was figured by 
Camerarius two years later. This picture is less questionable than 
that of Clusius, as representing what we now call the century plant, 
but it might possibly stand for what, a century later, was grown in 
Dutch gardens as the broader-leaved aloe from Vera Cruz — now 
known as Agave Vera Cruz or the synonym A. lurida. The reported 
escape of the latter species in central Italy lends some support to this 
surmise; but the picture can not be said not to represent A. Americana, 
the wide-spread naturalization of which through the Mediterranean 
countries seems to indicate conclusively that, whichever may have been 
introduced first, it was really the century plant that was first extensively 
propagated in Europe. 

The agaves have been esteemed as garden curiosities ever since their 

VOL. LXX. — 15. 




Fjg. 18. Willing to be photographed. 



226 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



historic r.iistn i r._ 
Aloe Americana. -, 



44) 




Fig. 19. The First Picture. 



first introduction into the civilized 
world, and many of them are 
really beautiful plants; but while 
one of them has leaves only an 
inch long, the size of others is so 
great as to render them unsuitable 
for ordinary cultivation under 
glass, and really representative col- 
lections have been made by only 
a few amateurs and botanical gar- 
dens. About forty years ago a 
taste for growing some of the 
smaller species was fostered by 
Belgian dealers who successfully 
exhibited and advertised select 
specimens of new importation, 
some of which sold for very profit- 
able sums; but I do not recall a 
single one of the private collections 
of a generation ago which is still 
kept up, though fortunately some of the better plants have found their 
way finally to Kew or some other botanical establishment. 

Botanists have generally agreed 
to date their scientific naming of 
plants from 1753, when Linnaeus 
substituted the convenient binomial 
for the awkward if usually terse 
description that had been used up to 
that time when reference was made 
to a plant. This date, consequently, 
begins the modern history of Agave, 
which, some years earlier, had been 
segregated from the African genus 
Aloe. 

In his ' Species Plantarum/ pub- 
lished in that year, Linnaeus de- 
scribes only four species — one of 
which, the ' cabuja ' of the tropical 
mainland, belongs to a sufficiently 
distinct genus, Furcrcea, which was 
separated from Agave half a cen- 
tury later. One of the remaining three is the century plant, 
A. Americana-; another is a characteristic large species of the 
Greater Antilles, A. vivipara; the other is an interesting little 
plant of our own flora, with thin leaves which die down every 




Hiiius altitude ex appieYi floris quantititemedlo- 
Cfitcrconijcipoteft. Accuratadefcriptioextatapud 
Czfalpinum. Nosiconcmdcdinms.cuni i ncminc 
hadenus dcpifta fucrit. > 

Althaa. 



Fig. 20. Figured by Camerarias. 



TEE CENTURY PLANT 



227 



winter, and a slender raceme of flowers, A. Virginica, which is 
now made the type of a distinct genus, Manfreda. From the two 
Linnaean species left after the segregation of Furcrcea and Man- 
freda, the genus Agave grew step by step, through later discoveries, to 
127 species distinguished by its latest monographer. Of these, 35 
helong to the candelabrum group designated as Euagave and represented 
by the two Linmean species, and 4(i have the flower-cluster contracted 
as in A. Lecheguilla, constituting the group Littcea. The inflorescence 
of the remaining 46 was not known when this monograph was written — 
nearly twenty years ago, and a very large part of the species have been 
known only through cultivated plants, most of which were described 
when immature, and of which no inconsiderable number died or were 
lost sight of before reaching a flowering age. 

The describer of a garden species of Agave usually finds himself 
impelled to set down its probable habitat as Mexico. In this guess he is 




Fig. 21. Hotel at Maj.trata. 



favored by the law of chance, for only a few agaves occur to the north or 
south of Mexico or in the West Indies; but a considerable number of 
intentional or chance hybrids have originated in gardens in addition to 
some apparently purely cultural forms, the numerous descriptions of the 
last two decades are widely scattered and little comparable, and the 
genus stands to-day as one of the worst confused of its size — the actual 
number of its species apparently being not far from 200. 

There appears little hope of removing this confusion except by 
protracted field study under unusually difficult conditions, supple- 
mented by garden cultivation of plants from definitely ascertained spon- 
taneous sources. Serviceable herbarium specimens are rarely seen. 
Their preparation is unusually difficult because of the large size and 
succulent nature of the plants, but they can be made. The camera is 



228 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



as indispensable to the field student of these plants as the trowel or 
drying press, and the data used by whoever may succeed in adequately 
monographing the agaves will necessarily include habit pictures and 
full-size details, photographed on the spot. 

Anything which takes one into the pure air and bright sunshine of 
the mountains brings in the enjoyment of these a full compensation 
for the inseparable hardships of travel in a sparsely settled country 
where the comforts of life are not to be looked for outside of the 
larger cities, and where one frequently goes to bed literally with the 
chickens or is stabled in the barnyard. 

The agaves are preeminently plants of rocky places. Some of them 
delight in hanging from the sides of cliffs which are all but inacces- 
sible. Others grow in the middle of the great fields of broken ragged 
lava to which the Mexicans have applied the expressive name ' malpays ' 
or bad lands. Collecting under such conditions is scarcely capable of 
description without the unimpeachable evidence of the phonograph, 
which is not yet generally recognized as a necessary part of the bot- 
anist's equipment. I regret that while I have been able to show pic- 
tures giving some idea of the obstacles to travel in the barrancas and 
lava beds, of the altogether tantalizing places in which choice plants 
are seen, and of the difficulties attending the transportation of those 
that can be reached, I have no phonographic record fit for public 
demonstration. 




Fig. 22. Where Choice Plants are seen. 



DEVELOPMENT OF TELEPHONE SERVICE 



229 



NOTES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF TELEPHONE 

SEKVICE. IV. 



BY fked deland 



VII. Some Early Telephone Switchboards 
ri iHE switchboards in the New Haven and other pioneer telephone ex- 
-*- changes were far more crude mechanically than the marvelous 
and sensitive hand telephone. The first switchboard that Mr. Coy 
installed in New Haven had a capacity of only eight lines, but as 
every line was a party-line, and as an average of twelve subscribers 
were on each line, the board served a hundred or more subscribers. 
This board was designed and built by Mr. Coy, in December, 1877, 
with the aid of a local carpenter, and formed a part of the partition 




that separated the office from the battery-room. So far as known no 
photographs of the exchange or of the board were ever taken, and 
when the partition was removed the switchboard no longer existed. 
However, in Fig. 6 is an excellent reproduction of a rough sketch made 
from memory many years ago, of what Mr. Coy asserts was the first 
switchboard, though others claim that the board had no annunciator 
attached during the first two months. 

Crude as the construction of the board was. without cords or plugs, 



2 3 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



clearing-out drops or other improvements that facilitate rapid service 
on the part of the operator, it was considered a remarkable piece of 
workmanship in its day, and prospective investors in telephone sys- 
tems traveled from various states to inspect Mr. Coy's equipment and 
to study the working method of this first of all telephone exchanges. 
The switchboard used in the Meriden exchange, opened a few clays 
after the New Haven exchange, is now preserved in the Smithsonian 
Institution at Washington. It is similar in type to the New Haven 
board, and was designed by Mr. Coy. The switchboard used in Rich- 
mond, Va., as late as April, 1879, had six dials on its face, ' each circle 
about ten inches in diameter, formed by thirty-nine numbers.' 

Service from Mr. Coy's board was supplied after the following 
fashion. On the shelf was a large induction coil with a manually 
operated buzzing attachment (Fig. 7). This calling device was known 




Fig. 7. 

as ' Watson's squealer ' and also as ' Coy's chicken,' for the shrill squeal 
it sent out over the line could be easily heard in all parts of a large 
room. When ' Central ' desired to call a given subscriber on a party- 
line, as No. 5, for instance, on party-line No. 8, the operator connected 
this buzz-box to line No. 8 and sent five long squeals over the line, 
which would be the signal for subscriber No. 5 to come in on the line, 
and for the others to stay out. 

For the use of his subscribers in New Haven, Mr. Coy hung the 
mahogany or rubber-encased hand telephone on a steel hook screwed 
into a black walnut board (Fig. 8) which he attached to the wall of the 
subscriber's room or office. Binding posts for wire connections were 
fastened to each corner of this board, with a simple strip type of light- 
ning arrester connecting the upper two posts, line and ground. Near 
the center of this board and bridged on to the grounded iron telephone 
circuit, was a circuit-break push button for the subscriber to use in 
calling ' Central.' Below the push button was inscribed the number 
of the telephone. 

Primitive as this outfit now appears, if was considered a luxury 
in 1878 that many were glad to have, and practically constituted the 



DEVELOPMENT IN TELEPHONE SERVICE 



2\\ 



entire telephone equipment supplied to subscribers by the early tele- 
phone exchanges. For as rapidly as other operating companies came 
into existence, they copied or adopted Mr. Coy's equipment, modified 
more or less according to the mechanical or artistic views of the local 
manager or his manufacturer. A modification used in Richmond, Va., 
is shown in Fig. 9. 

In one sense these magneto systems might be properly termed 
central-energy exchanges. For though no batteries were required to 
operate these pioneer hand telephones, all the current required to 
signal ' central ' or ' subscriber ' was supplied from a ' common-battery ' 





Fig. 8. 



Fig. y. 



set of gravity cells maintained in the exchange and operating on a 
closed circuit. 

When a subscriber desired ' Central,' he touched the metal push 
button, shown in Fig. 8, which actuated a single-stroke bell in the 
exchange and released a drop in the ordinary house-annunciator at- 
tached to the switchboard, thus indicating the respective party-line. On 
hearing the bell, the boy-operator would leave whatever other work he 
was engaged upon, walk leisurely over to the board, glance at the an- 
nunciator, turn the single switch to the metallic strip to bring his 
telephone in circuit with the calling subscriber, and loudly enquire: 
' What do you want ? ' then place his telephone to his ear just too late to 
catch the full reply. Louder explanations on both sides would follow, 
and sometimes the subscriber's remarks were not of a character suitable 



232 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



for publication, while the replies of the operator partook of the same 
lurid nature. For there were no sissy-boys and no girls among the 
pioneer operators of 1878-1880. 

Finally, subscriber No. 5 would make the operator understand 
whom he desired to be connected with. Then the connection was given 
by turning the lever of one circle to the peg to which the calling-line 
was attached (Fig. 6), and placing the lever of the other circle on the 
peg or post connected to the line of the calling subscriber. The boy 
would then go back to his other work and probably forget all about the 
two subscriber-lines connected together, until an infuriated individual 
would rush into the office and demand the reason why some blithering 
idiot failed to answer his bell. Then the boy would have to pacify 
the subscriber as best he could by explaining that when two subscriber- 
lines were connected together, the call-bell and the battery-connection 
on each line were cut out to improve the talking qualities, and each 
subscriber was connected straight through to each other's telephone ; 




Fig. 10. 



DEVELOPMENT IN TELEPHONE SERVICE 



2 33 



that in the pressure of cleaning batteries, or sweeping the room or 
doing some other kind of work, boy-like he forgot to disconnect the 
circuits. 

With Mr. Coy's first board two telephonic connections only were 
possible at the same time. That is, two conversations only could be 
carried on at the same time. If a third subscriber desired connection, 
it was necessary to await the release of a lever by the disconnection of 
one of the other lines. Then the bright thought occurred to the boy- 
operator that by wetting the tips of his fingers and placing them on the 
respective pegs, his arms would become the levers of the respective 
circles, and thus the two subscribers could talk through his body. 
This very ingenious makeshift served to tide over the brief period 
during which an addition of two more circles was made to the original 
board, thus increasing its capacity fifty per cent. But one day, while 
the boy-operator was letting his wet finger-tips perform the service, 
now taken care of by cords and plugs, the ring-off signal came in 
from a subscriber who had just had a powerful magneto installed, and 
the shock received ended that very convenient practice. 

Soon there were more than 
150 subscribers on twelve sub- 
scriber-lines, and the ratio of 
calls per subscriber was constant- 
ly on the increase. So a new 
board was planned by Mr. Coy 
— and built by Mr. Snell, who is 
still in New Haven engaged in 
supplying equipment-specialties 
to telephone companies. This 
board (Fig. 10) had a line ca- 
pacity of forty wires. Evidently 
switchboards of this type found 
favor for a time in the opinion 
of the parent company; for a 
circular issued in 1880, by the 
National Bell Telephone Com- 
pany, contains the following sug- 
gestions, all of which were omitted from a circular of similar purport, 
issued a year later by the American Bell Telephone Company : 

There are several styles of switchboards that may be used, all depending 
on the general principles for tneir operation. They consist essentially of 
horizontal and vertical bars crossing one another and arranged so that any 
horizontal bar can be connected to any vertical bar. It is chiefly in the 
methods of making the connection that the various switches differ. In what 
is known as the ' plug ' switch, the connection is made by inserting a small 
metal plug at the point where the horizontal and vertical bars cross one an- 
other. There are several forms of the plug switch. ... In what is known as 
the slide central office switch, the connections are made by means of a sliding 




Fig. 11. 



234 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



contact plug, which can be moved on the vertical bars, and when placed over one 
of the horizontal bars, springs into firm contact with it . . . (as shown in Fig. 
11). The brass rods for connecting any two lines together are fastened to the 
walnut frame, and in front of them but not touching, are the upright rods. 
The line circuits, as they enter the office, are connected to the upright rods 
by binding screws on top of the frame. Each of the upright rods has a 
spring-slide which, when pulled outward, can be slid freely on the rod, and 
which, on being released, springs into firm contact with any one of the hori- 
zontal rods with which it may be desired to connect it. 

Within a year the increase in the number of subscriber-lines in the 
New Haven exchange made an additional board necessary. So a 
Snell board having a capacity for thirty-five subscriber-lines was in- 

i!i||ii|l|p™ 



g^'i^^jjF., Jf . \{r if pr $*■ 

Jtl,«/o > yJ' 



jlji!ftrt>i/-0'l'ii*: 




S^SS^3wSffiiffip^Fi 



5-.:'i 



'^il ! H , iii'ptl«!|»tp!li l ll , l» |, H!* |,Jlll ?" lll,ll,lii r 




Fig. 12. 



Fig. 13 



stalled and connected to the old board. The principal feature of the 
Snell board (Fig. 12) is the Snell jack (Fig. 13). The instructions 
sent with the board read : 

The line connects the levers together perpendicularly. The springs being 
connected horizontally, form the connecting bars. Any two circuits are con- 
nected by throwing the corresponding levers on the same row of springs. We 
have testimonials from parties using the switch, where one operator does all 
the work satisfactorily for three hundred subscribers, where with any other 
system it would require at least two, thus making a permanent saving in the 
running expenses. 

A cheaper type of Snell switchboard is shown in Fig. 14, using what 
are called ' tip-up jacks.'" This board consisted of an 



inclined table, having as many grooves, about a quarter of an inch wide and 
deep, as may be required for connecting bars. Between every third groove is 
a row of counter-sunk holes for the wire posts inside of a spiral spring; a 
smaller wire passing through the ends of the posts forms the line and acts as a 



DEVELOPMENT IN TELEPHONE SERVICE 



2 35 



hinge for the little tip-up jacks, that connect the line with the brass plate on 
the bottom of the groove. The spring allows the post to give a little, thereby 
making a rubbing connection and holding the jacks firmly in their place when 
any two are tipped up on the same groove to make connections. 

The combined annunciator recording drop-plate shown on this Snell 
board is of interest in showing the appreciation in those pioneer days 
of the necessity of a measured-service system. Five falls of the plate 
(Fig. 14) would cause one revolution of the shaft, which, in turn, 
would move the indicating wheel one notch. A later form of switch- 




Fig. 14. 



Fig. 15. 



board devised by Coy and Snell is shown in Fig. 16. A board of this 
type was installed in Hartford in 1879. In December, 1881, in the 
Providence exchange there were thirteen Post-Snell switchboards of 
twenty-five wires each, four of fifty wires and one of sixty wires, ar- 
ranged on three sides of the operating room, and from these eighteen 
boards service was supplied to eleven hundred subscribers. 

The switchboards adopted by other exchanges were as unique in 
character as those erected in New Haven. In St. Louis, in April, 1878, 
Mr. George F. Durant used a 'jump jack switchboard,' the operation 
of which is thus described: 



On the subscriber ringing his bell, the annunciator would fall and the 
boy-operator would ask: 'What do you want?' Finding out what was wanted, 
the boy would notify the switchman what connection was desired, which w r as 
made by two single plugs attached to a single cord, by placing one of the plugs 
under each of the jacks requiring the connection. 

The second switchboard had brass bars running the entire length of 
the board, with holes about every five or six inches to insert the plugs 



236 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 







1 




1 «.»*»** 1 


Is 


EJfc**« | 


1 




in 




If 








ifcdHI ■ • 1- _ r ,^ 




■■■Km 


SSbmb 



Fig. 16. 

into, and were connected to the disconnecting switch through an indi- 
cator and jump jack. 

In July, 1878, Thomas B. Doolittle planned and had constructed 
by Charles Williams, Jr., of Court Street, Boston, a twenty-circuit 
telephone switchboard, which Mr. Williams has stated ' was the first 
switchboard completely equipped with signaling apparatus ever made 
at my establishment.' This board (Fig. 17) was placed in Mr. Doo- 
little's exchange at Bridgeport, Connecticut, which succeeded to the 
first mutual telephone exchange system, and is the small board shown 
in Fig. 18. 

In 1877, Mr. Doolittle had made a small six-point cross-bar switch- 
board for use in Bridgeport, in which he substituted simple switches 
for the usual telegraph plugs, as the former were more easily manipu- 
lated in making connections. Then he brought out the small board 
above referred to. Meanwhile he devised his ' direct-connecting board ' 
(Fig. 18) in which each line terminated in the board after passing 
through a single stroke bell, to the hammer of which was attached a 
hollow brass ball suspended by a silk thread. To each circuit an op- 
erator's telephone was attached, and the cords were of sufficient length 
to reach the furthermost limit of the board. Following a subscriber's 
call the stroke of the bell set the brass ball to swinging, thus notifying 



DEVELOPMENT IN TELEPHONE SERVICE 



237 




a 



a.-.A *r^ v- ^ S-- $■ + f 



the operator, who cut off the battery by turning a switch and then 
inserted a plug in the line socket and received the call. The com- 
panion cord was then removed from the ground plate and inserted in 

the socket of the line called for. 
Mr. Doolittle states that on several 
occasions he saw the operator take 
care of four calls at the same time 
by holding two telephones in the 
fingers of each hand, that is, the 
operator had to talk and then 
listen into four separate tele- 
phones ; in other words, using both 
ears as well as both hands. Inci- 
dentally it may be mentioned that 
Mr. Doolittle claims that it was on 
this board that the first female 
telephone operator was employed. 
A glance at the illustration shows 
that the cylindrical wooden weights 
suspended on the plug cords were 
about an inch in diameter and a 
foot in length, with a brass pulley 
attached to the top of each. These 
long weights were employed at first 
in anticipation that their length 
would prevent the cords from 
swinging and tangling, but later 
were displaced by smaller but 
heavier lead weights. 

According to a local paper the 
switchboard erected in Philadel- 
phia, in December, 1878, consisted of 

a walnut frame and braced strips of brass punctured with holes, into which 
wires are fitted to make the necessary connections. Behind this all the wires 
converging in the office concentrate. The board accommodates 400 different 
lines. 

In October, 1878, the parent ' Bell Telephone Company ' issued 
a circular describing a form of brass strip switchboard ' adapted for six 
circuits.' On February 20, 1879, a circular was issued describing a 
switchboard which could be supplied at 

from 50 cents to $1 per circuit, according to the number of circuits. The 
dimensions of this switchboard for from 50 to 200 circuits are 6 feet long by 
about 3 feet wide. 

Switchboard tap-bells were listed at $2.50 each; subscriber's hook 
district bells, $3.25 each; spring keys, 75 cents each; lightning arrest- 
ers, 37 cents per circuit. It was stated that " the following plan it is 




Fig. 17 



2 3 8 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




&|r$.».*.*l 

J-J J4 1 1 M f J| J 1 1 J J J J J 4 .... 



33 



r 



Fig. 18. 

believed combines the advantages of the (thirteen) different systems." 
A diagrammatic representation of the wiring of a single circuit in this 
board is shown in Fig. 19. There is also shown a flexible cord attached 
to a plug and a wedge of hard wood having a metal plate fastened to 
one side. The instructions sent with the board read : 

The local size gravity battery is used — one cell for each bell and for 
each mile of wire is sufficient. A circuit one mile long having ten bells re- 
quires about fourteen cells of battery. Two circuits may be operated by one 
. battery if they are about equal length and 

I have the same number of bells on each. . . . 

K~w3 When any subscriber on this circuit wishes 

to call the central office he presses his knob 
twice, which rings the bell ; the operator 
then inserts the wedge between the spring 
and the plate, with the metal side against 
the spring, and the plug into a brass strip 
which is connected through a set of tele- 
phones to the ground. This, it will be seen, 
takes off the battery and connects the tele- 
phones so that the operator can talk with 
the subscriber and ascertain his wants. If 
the subscriber wants to talk with a person 
on another circuit, the central office calls 
that person and on receiving his answer, 
the two circuits are connected together by 
inserting a wedge under each spring and 
putting each plug into one of a pair of 
brass strips which are connected together 
through a hand telephone by means of which 
the central office operator can ascertain 
when the two persons have finished using 
the circuits. Then he removes the wedges 
and plugs and the circuits are ready for another call. 

The instructions for the subscribers equipment read : 

The circuits are run from the central office and grounded at the last 




□ 



I 




DEVELOPMENT IN TELEPHONE SERVICE 



2 39 



stations. A small electric bell is placed in each subscriber's house or office, 
having a hook projecting from its base on which the hand telephone is hung 

when not in use (Fig. 20). When the telephone is 
removed this hook can be thrown either to the right 
or left. When thrown to the right the line wire 
on one side of the station is connected through the 
telephones to the ground and the line on the other 
side is opened, preventing any one on that side hear- 
ing what is said. When thrown to the left the re- 
verse is true. It is obvious that no person between 
the two that are conversing can put his telephone in 
circuit without breaking the line, and consequently, 
interrupting the conversation. All other stations 
on the circuit are notified that the line is being 
used by the striker being away from the bell. In 
this case the subscriber must not attempt to call or 
use the telephone. The signaling is done by pressing 
and releasing a knob the requisite number of 
times. . . . 

On June 12, 1879, the parent Bell com- 
pany sent out photographs and a circular de- 
scribing ' our No. 1 standard central office strip 
switch arranged for seventy-five circuits.' 

In November, 1881, Mr. T. D. Loekwood 

said : 

To make a good telephone exchange switchboard, 
however, out of an ordinary telegraph switch, we 
concede that considerable remodelling is necessary; 
and after the first heat of invention was over, prac- 
tical men began to look about them, to see the disad- 
vantages they were laboring under and endeavor to 
overcome them. It was seen that time and money 
were, in telephone offices, the two main articles to be 
economized. Time, because speed of connection is the 
very life-blood of the business. Money, because in 
many of the exchanges the telephone business was 
managed and owned by men of little or no capital; 
and, in others, the expense, in any case, would be great, and economy was neces- 
sary to make anything at all out of the business. Soon, therefore, it became 
obvious that the telephone switch must be compact; all the apparatus must be 
easily and quickly under control; everything about it must be well made and 
well put together; the motions required in a connection must be reduced to a 
minimum, and yet the apparatus must be cheap. The cry of cheapness for a 
long time obscured the vision of the practical man. 

In 1881 came the first of the multiple switchboards. This inno- 
vation was arranged for grounded and later for metallic circuits, and 
was designed to eliminate many of the causes tending to slow down the 
service. Under the previous system each operator was compelled to 
act as information bureau, and subscribers called by name rather than 
by number. The introduction of the mutiple board made necessary the 
assignment of numbers to subscribers, and many an urgent request to 
call by number rather than by name. Thus the multiple-board operator 
made connections only in response to requests giving numbers. If 
complaints were made or information requested, the caller was 
quickly switched to the information desk presided over by a special 
operator. In the same manner the toll calls were handled at a toll 




Fig. 20. 



240 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



board or special section of the large board. A 1,500-line multiple 
switchboard was installed in New York in November, 1883. 
In 1883 Mr. W. D. Sargent said : 

The ideal (switchboard) system would be one in which the operator would 
receive the orders to connect and disconnect from the subscriber orally, by 
means of a head telephone; to have in front of her a switchboard by which 
she could connect any two wires of the whole system, however large, without 
interfering with the other operators. The nearest approach to this perfect 
system at the present time is the multiple-board; but this has never been 
worked on the true or multiple principle, and it can never show all its merits 
until it is. The multiple-board is noAV being introduced into many of the 
largest cities, and we may expect much information during the coining year 
on its merits. 

Now-a-days a new switchboard is often placed in service so quietly 

that the subscribers are rarely aware of any change taking place until 

after the work is completed. But in the pioneer clays it was somewhat 

different, as is shown in the following interview clipped from an 

eastern paper in 1882 : 

In removing from the old to the new central exchange unforeseen difficulties 
were encountered, chiefly in the removal of such a mess of wires and the 
abrupt change from the old system to the new system (of calling), and the 




Fig. 21. 



DEVELOPMENT IN TELEPHONE SERVICE 241 

necessarily temporary character of much of the construction. The public had 
to be personally taught to use the new system, and our operators had to be 
educated in its rapid use. This naturally caused dissatisfaction, and before 
the system was tried and the construction trouble was eliminated, our sub- 
scribers, through misapprehension of the real purpose of the change, were 
invited to meet and form an association to protect their interests and compel 
satisfactory and perfect service on our part. . . . The association was soon 
compelled to acknowledge the superiority of the new service over that of the old. 

In March, 1883, there were thirty Gilliland switchboards (Fig. 21) 
in the Pearl Street telephone exchange in Boston, and seventy-five toll 
lines terminated there. These boards stood about a foot apart and were 
displaced by a given number of multiple sections forming one compact, 
continuous board. In referring to the installation of the multiple 
switchboard in this exchange in 1884, Mr. Carty stated that 

there were about 1,650 subscribers, ninety branch and thirty extra-territorial 
lines. The extra-territorial lines were handled by five operators on the 
25-wire boards, on each of which there were a dozen or more subscribers. This 
called for a force of thirty-nine operators on tables at any one time, seven 
operators for relief and seven night operators, making a total force of fifty- 
three. With the multiple system only twenty operators are required to fill 
the boards in the main exchange, with five relief and four night operators. 
In the toll room, eleven operators are required, including the chief, one relief 
and two night operators. This makes a total of forty operators, handling 
1,700 subscribers, 152 trunk lines, and shows a saving of thirteen operators. 

Incidentally, it may be added that the Boston board was put in at an 
expense of $48,000. The old boards cost over $20,000, but brought 
less than one tenth that sum when sold as junk, though in use less 
than four years, and some less than two years. 

In September, 1885, Mr. T. D. Lockwood suggested that where the 
multiple board was to be installed it would be well 

to get the numbers drilled into the subscribers first. I was in Baltimore eighteen 
months ago, when the subscribers were all known by name. They were going to 
change that, and they were also introducing the multiple boards at the same 
time; and the operation of the new multiple boards was somewhat premature, 
because the old boards fell to pieces about a week before the new ones were 
expected and the change had to be made very quickly, and the change from 
names to numbers, and from the old board to the multiple board resulted in 
producing a condition of things very like a pandemonium for three or four days. 

That the Western Union's competitive telephone service was of no 
better character than that of the Bell, notwithstanding its long ex- 
perience in serving the public and the far greater resources at its 
command, is clearly portrayed in a description by a Times reporter, of 
a visit to the Chicago exchange of the American District Telegraph 
Company, in July, 1879. He wrote: 

The racket is almost deafening. There are speaking tubes running all 
about the room, which look not unlike small stovepipes, and at one end and 
the other of these are placed the lips of one operator and the ear of another. 
Boys and girls are rushing madly hither and thither, seemingly without 
intent or direction; while others are putting in and taking out pegs from the 
metallic surface of the central framework or switchboard as if they were 
lunatics engaged in an old-fashioned game of fox and geese. 

How different are present-day conditions in the large exchanges, 
where the operating force is well disciplined and thoroughly trained, 



242 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

and where the modern relay multiple switchboard affords every facility 
for rapid intercommunication. So compact are these improved switch- 
boards that each subscriber-line reappears in each and every section, 
thus enabling any one of the three operators allotted to a section to 
reach the jack connecting with the subscriber line of any one of the 
many subscribers connected to that given exchange even though they 
number ten thousand. Under these favorable conditions the average 
time in which ' Central ' answers a calling subscriber rarely exceeds 
four seconds, and a local call is completed on an average of less than 
thirty-five seconds, the time consumed depending largely on the prompt- 
ness with which the called subscriber responds to ' Central's ' calling. 
Concerning the rapidity with which telephone connections were 
secured in pioneer days, we have a statement made in 1887, by Mr. B. 
E. Sunny, a man of exceptional ability, who was one of the first to 
comprehend the true function of telephone service and who strove to 
make his service the best that human effort and improved apparatus 
could make it. Mr. Sunny said : 

Chicago has tried the division of labor plan on three distinct types of 
switchboard. On the first switchboard in the central office in about 1880, with 
four hundred subscribers, we were able to make a connection in about five 
minutes; on the second type of switchboard, which was the Gilliland, we were 
able to make connection with five operators in about two minutes. On the 
third type- of switchboard, which was the Western Electric pattern, but of 
special make, we came mighty near not being able to make any connection at 
all ; but after we had hammered away at it for a long time, we got the time 
down to about two minutes and a half. We changed from that to our present 
system of the unit of labor, and we make connections on an average of about 
forty- five seconds. So far as possible we make two operators on all connec- 
tions, local and trunk, do the work. 

It is also interesting to note that in 1884 Mr. Sunny started a 
school of instruction for telephone operators in Chicago. When an 
applicant appeared she was advised to enter this school and receive 
free instruction, and about one in four of the students were found 
competent to enter the regular service. When full, the class was com- 
posed of ten students. The teacher in charge was a former public 
school teacher, who had also served four years as an operator, monitor, 
chief operator, etc., under conditions that had enabled her to gain a 
thorough knowledge of the duties of an operator. The school appa- 
ratus consisted of three sections of switchboard and a dozen or more 
telephones connected up at different points in the school-room. Calls 
were sent in and connections made at the switchboards as nearly as 
possible according to regular practice. Mr. Sunny found that this 
method of training 

educates the students in the matter of hearing and talking and handling the 
cords and handling the cam-levers, so that when they sit down to actual work 
they have nothing to overcome except the momentary nervousness. In the 
old system we used to take a new-comer and put her on a section to answer 
fifty subscribers, and we used to depend upon the subscribers to educate the 
operator and make her competent to fill that position. 



DENATURED ALCOHOL ' 243 



DENATURED ALCOHOL 

By Professor S. LAWRENCE BIGELOW 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 

TT7 IDESPEEAD interest was aroused by the passage, last June, 
* » of an act of congress permitting the manufacture and sale 
of alcohol tax-free after January 1, 1907, provided it be rendered 
unfit to drink by the addition of substances imparting to it a repulsive 
odor and taste. Such alcohol is known as denaturalized, denaturized, 
or denatured alcohol, and the substances added are called denaturiz- 
ing or denaturing agents, or more simply, denaturants. These are 
barbarous terms, almost as repulsive as the substances themselves. 
It is only fair to add that neither Professor Matthews nor President 
Roosevelt is responsible for these dislocations of our language. They 
are literal translations from German and French equivalents. True 
to its resolutions of reform, our government has adopted the simplest 
of these terms and recent publications refer to denatured alcohol and 
denaturants. 

The cause of the general interest in the subject is twofold. Each 
individual in the community has reason to think that he may perhaps 
derive some benefit from this bill ; that he will be able to use denatured 
alcohol in a way to increase his comforts or to diminish his running 
expenses. A smaller number see in the new article of commerce possi- 
bilities of profitable occupation or of profitable investment. It is my 
purpose to consider certain facts regarding denatured alcohol which 
have a bearing upon these expectations. 

Alcohol, to the chemist, is a class name for a large number of 
different compounds, all of which have certain definite characteristics 
in common. The proper name for ' ordinary alcohol/ sometimes 
called ' grain ' alcohol, or ' spirits of wine,' constituting between 40 per 
cent, and 55 per cent, of the volume of whiskey, brandy and the other 
so-called spirituous liquors, 8 per cent, to 25 per cent, of the volume 
of wines, 3 per cent, to 8 per cent, of the volume of beers and ales, is 
ethyl alcohol. It contains only the elements carbon, hydrogen and 
oxygen. Its chemical formula is C 2 H 5 OH and it is the only ' alcohol ' 
which can be taken as a beverage, all others being much more poison- 
ous. For instance, wood alcohol, the correct name for which is methyl 
alcohol, a substance about which we shall have frequent occasion to 
speak as it is to be one of the denaturants, is closely related to ethyl 
alcohol, containing the same elements only in slightly different pro- 



244 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

portions. This is clearly shown by its chemical formula, CH 3 OH. 
But it is a dangerous poison, and numerous cases are on record of 
deaths due to its being mistaken for ethyl alcohol. This mistake 
occurs easily. A man asked a druggist for a bottle of good alcohol. 
The druggist understood him to say wood alcohol. The customer 
took his purchase home, drank it and died. Moreover, there is some- 
thing particularly horrible about the action of wood alcohol. Numer- 
ous instances are on record proving that the substance has a specific 
effect on the optic nerve. After complete recovery from dangerous 
doses of methyl alcohol, in the course of a few days, patients have 
become totally blind. It is desirable that these facts should be as 
widely known as possible, since denatured alcohol is required by law 
to contain 10 per cent, of this poison. 

It is not too much to say that if we arrange all the liquids known 
to us in the order of their general usefulness, water, which heads the 
list of course, will be followed immediately by ethyl alcohol. Ethyl 
alcohol is colorless and of an agreeable odor. It is an admirable clean- 
ing agent, and a good antiseptic and disinfectant as well. It is an 
ideal source of heat and power and is capable of being developed 
into an ideal source of light. Ideal, because the products of its com- 
bustion, carbon dioxide and water, both of which are normally present 
in the air, are quite odorless and are harmless; ideal because, evapo- 
rating quickly and completely if spilled, it is much cleaner than any 
oil. It is an indispensable solvent in many chemical industries and is 
the raw material from which important substances, such as acetic 
acid (vinegar), the anesthetics ethyl ether and chloroform, the anti- 
septic iodoform, and many other substances are made. It is the cheap- 
est and easiest of all the alcohols to manufacture. 

Truly, it is unfortunate that to this list of advantages must be 
added the fact that it is drinkable, for this last property is made to 
justify so many restrictions that its application to these useful pur- 
poses is badly hampered. Alcoholic beverages are generally acknowl- 
edged to be unnecessary luxuries; therefore, by common consent, they 
are heavily taxed in every civilized country. A quantity of alcohol 
costing about 11 cents to make, namely, a ' proof ' or ' tax ' gallon, 
pays an internal revenue tax of $1.10. The ' proof or f tax' gallon 
contains about 50 per cent, by volume of ethyl alcohol, and about 
50 per cent, water. The law reads in such a way that if the alcohol 
happens to be stronger, or above ' proof ' as it is called, the number 
of gallons of ' proof ' spirit which could be made from it is calculated 
and the tax is paid on this computed quantity. But, on the other 
hand, if the alcohol be weaker, i. e., below ' proof/ it is taxed as if it 
were 'proof/ 

This term ' proof spirit ' had a somewhat curious origin which is 



DENATURED ALCOHOL 245 

at the same time illustrative of the absurdly unscientific nature of 
many of our commercial units of measurement. Formerly, in Eng- 
land, a little pile of gunpowder was made and the ' spirit ' to be tested 
was poured over this and lighted. If the burning alcohol, before going 
out, set fire to the powder it was said to be above proof; if it went 
out without igniting the powder, it was said to be below proof. 
Thus ' proof spirit ' was defined as the most dilute alcohol which would 
set fire to gunpowder under these conditions. The ridiculous inac- 
curacy of such a test is sufficiently apparent. The British parliament 
and our congress both passed laws defining ' proof ' in terms of specific 
gravity. 1 The alcohol which we buy for use in alcohol lamps or for 

1 " ' Proof spirit ' . . . was defined by act of Parliament to be sueb tbat at 
51° F. (10° C.) thirteen volumes shall weigh the same as twelve volumes of dis- 
tilled water. The 'proof spirit' so made will have a specific gravity of 0.91984 
at 15.5° C. (60° F.) and contain, according to Townes, 49.24 per cent, by weight 
of alcohol and 50.76 per cent, of water. Spirits weaker than proof are described 
as U. P. (under proof), stronger than proof as 0. P. (over proof) ; thus a spirit 
of fifty U. P. means fifty water and fifty proof spirit, while fifty O. P. means 
that the alcohol is of such strength that to every one hundred of the spirit fifty 
of water would have to be added to reduce it to proof strength." — ' Handbook 
of Industrial Organic Chemistry,' by S. P. Sadler, p. 217. 

"Proof spirit is alcohol of such a strength that 13 gallons of the spirit have 
the same weight as 12 gallons of distilled water at 10° C. Proof spirit contains 
49.24 per cent, of absolute alcohol by weight." — ' Outlines of Industrial Chem- 
istry,' Thorpe, p. 409. 

In the Zeitschrift fur angewandte Chemie, Vol. I. (1888), p. 29, may be 
found tables for the conversion of per cents, over and per cents, under proof 
into per cent, of alcohol by volume. According to these, for instance, 
1 per cent, over proof equals 57.8 per cent, alcohol by volume 
70 per cent, over proof equals 97.3 per cent, alcohol by volume 
that is, 100 per cent., or absolute alcohol, beyond which we can not go, corre- 
sponds to a little less than 75 over proof. According to these tables again, 
1 per cent, under proof equals 56.6 per cent, alcohol by volume 
70 per cent, under proof equals 17.2 per cent, alcohol by volume 
that is, pure water, containing no alcohol, is 100 below proof. The above figures 
show ' proof spirit ' as containing about 57.2 per cent, alcohol by volume. 

The above definitions apply in England, but not in the United States. Sec- 
tion 3,249 of the Internal Revenue Laws in force January 1, 1900 (page 144) 
reads : " Proof spirit shall be held to be that alcoholic liquor which contains 
one half its volume of alcohol of a specific gravity of seven thousand nine hun- 
dred and thirty-nine ten thousandths (0.7939) at sixty degrees Fahrenheit." 

The following dialogue appears in the hearings before the Committee on 
Ways and Means, February-March, 1906, on page 121 : 

Mr. Boutell : " In that connection will you kindly explain the use of the 
word ' proof ' in connection with alcohol ? Absolute alcohol would be what 
proof?" 

Professor Wiley : " It would be 200. That is, a commercial gallon of pure 
alcohol would be 200 proof." 

Mr. Boutell : " And a gallon of it on which a tax of a dollar and ten cents 
is levied is 100 proof? " 



246 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

rub-downs is much stronger, averaging 85 per cent, or 90 per cent. 
Investigations carried out in Germany have demonstrated that the best 
strength for general, miscellaneous uses is 95 per cent, and that is the 
strength which we, as consumers, should insist upon. 

It is readily figured out that such alcohol at the present time must 
pay a tax of $2.08 the measured gallon. The wholesale price is in the 
neighborhood of $2.50 per gallon, of which we may estimate the gov- 
ernment gets $2.08, the distilleries 42 cents. 

The tax on alcohol yields a not inconsiderable fraction of the 
whole revenue of the federal government. According to the ( Statis- 
tical Abstract ' for 1904, published by the government, the Internal 
Eevenue collections were as follows : 

Y ear From Spirituous From Fermented Totals 

Liquors. Liquors. 

1900 $109,868,817 $73,550,755 $183,419,572 

1901 116,027,980 75,669,908 191,697,888 

1902 121,138,013 71,988,902 192,126,915 

1903 131,953,472 47,547,856 2 179,501,328 

1904 135,810,015 49,083,458 184,893,473 

The federal government has no disciplinary motive in this heavy 
tax; that function is performed by the individual states and cities un- 
der the familiar name of local option. The government merely takes 
advantage of the strong feelings of so many individuals against the 
use of alcoholic beverages at all to levy a tremendous tax. It is an 
interesting fact in this connection that no increase in the tax has ever 
produced an appreciable diminution in the amount consumed in this 
or in any other country. 

The demands of manufacturers and others desiring to utilize 
alcohol for economic purposes were recognized long ago by other gov- 
ernments, and the efforts to satisfy these legitimate demands, while at 

Professor Wiley: "Yes; it is called 'proof simply. That means 100 
proof." 

Mr. Boutell : " It means one half of absolute alcohol and one half of H 2 ? " 

Professor Wiley: "Yes, that is what it means. This cologne spirit is about 
96 per cent., and the rest of it is water. . . . This would be then 192 proof, or 
92 above proof, as it is very commonly expressed. It is a purely arbitrary 
method of statement, fixed for the convenience of our excise office. When they 
say liquor is ' proof,' it means that it is one half ethyl alcohol and one half 
something else." 

On page 154 of the same hearings: 

Mr. Stevens: "... ordinary alcohol is 188 proof. You divide that by two 
and it gives you 94. You divide the proof by 2 and it gives you the percentage." 

As Thorpe's and Sadler's books are so widely used as texts and as refer- 
ences, it is safe to assume that there is a little confusion as to the meaning of 
this term ' proof.' It should be made clear that there is this difference between 
the English and the American definitions. 

' The war tax was removed from beer. 



DENATURED ALCOHOL 247 

the same time safeguarding the revenues, resulted in this ingenious 
scheme of ' denaturing.' We are fifteen or twenty years behind Ger- 
many, France 3 and practically all other civilized countries with our 
recent measure. It is very evident, then, that there is nothing new 
about denatured alcohol. Our tardiness brings one advantage, how- 
ever; we may profit by the experience of others. Some of this experi- 
ence and some of the more important known facts may be considered 
conveniently under the three heads : the manufacture of alcohol ; de- 
naturants; and uses of denatured alcohol. 

The Manufacture of Alcohol 

The fact that alcohol results from the fermentation of sugar by 
means of yeast is well known. Cane or beet sugar, the chemical name 
for which is sucrose, is first broken up into a mixture of glucose and 
fructose. This mixture is known as invert-sugar, referring to optical 
properties which it would take too long to describe. This ' inversion ' 
is produced by a substance called invertase present in the yeast. It 
may also be accomplished by the action of dilute acids. The glucose 
and fructose then undergo fermentation, a splitting up into ethyl alco- 
hol and carbon dioxide, as a result of the growth of the yeast plant. 
Pasteur's long and brilliant investigations led him to believe that fer- 
mentation could never occur except when accompanying some kind of 
multiplication of cells, either yeast cells or bacteria, i. e., some form 
of living protoplasm, and that it was thus a physiological phenomenon. 
By means of great pressures, Buchner, however, succeeded in extract- 
ing from yeast a liquid which contained no cells and no living proto- 
plasm and yet produced fermentation. The German name for this 
liquid is Presssaft, which may be translated into ' press-fluid.' The 
fermentation is produced by a substance, which Buchner called zymase, 
in solution in this ( press-fluid.' Since then numerous other similar 
substances have been discovered which produce chemical changes, for- 
merly supposed to occur only in conjunction with life processes. 
These substances, the inorganic or ' cell-less ' ferments, of which inver- 
tase and zymase are typical, are known as enzymes. We really know 
very little about these enzymes or how they work, but they are intensely 
interesting and many of the ablest scientists of the times are engaged 
in their study. 

Glucose and fructose are but two of a large number of chemically 
similar bodies which can be obtained from a great variety of agricul- 
tural products such as corn, rye, grains of all kinds, apples, grapes 
and fruits of all kinds, from Irish potatoes and from sweet potatoes, 
in short, from anything containing either starch or sugar. A list of 

3 In France, the first law relieving from taxes alcohol intended for industrial 
purposes was passed in 1814. 



248 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

the names given to these substances would be superfluous; in the lan- 
guage of chemistry they are all sugars, though they are not all sweet. 
Differing in minor particulars, they all have certain properties in com- 
mon, and the most characteristic of these common properties is that 
they each and all may be fermented and will yield ethyl alcohol as one 
of the products of the fermentation. 

The methods for conducting the fermentation on an industrial 
scale have been carefully worked out, but it is not the intention to enter 
here into the details of that phase of the subject. 4 

Ethyl alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water, consequently 
when the dilute alcohol obtained by fermentation is subject to distilla- 
tion the distillate contains more alcohol and less water than the orig- 
inal liquid. When the alcohol has been concentrated by distillation to 
about 40 per cent, or 50 per cent, of the total volume of liquid we have 
one of the so-called spirituous liquors — brandy, whiskey, gin or rum. 
These liquors owe their individual aromas and flavors to relatively 
insignificant traces of essential oils and organic esters derived from 
the particular material which was fermented. Just after they are 
made they also contain small quantities of distinctly deleterious sub- 
stances (alcohols other than ethyl alcohol), which taken together are 
often referred to as fusel oil. These other alcohols should be removed 
before the liquor is put on the market. The old-fashioned way of 
removing them was to allow the crude liquor to remain for some years 
in oaken casks; the wood of the casks gradually absorbed some of the 
injurious ingredients, while others were oxidized by the action of the 
air and some coloring matter was extracted from the wood. Such a 
time-consuming process is not in harmony with modern methods, so 
we have numerous chemical processes for removing the undesirable con- 
stituents. We can impart what color we like with more or less burnt 
sugar and thus artificially ' age ' our spirituous liquors and wines in 
short order. The number of patents allowed upon processes of this 
character is surprisingly large. A spirituous liquor is thus cheap stuff 
at the best, not worth intrinsically a tenth, often not a hundredth, part 
of its retail price. 

The manufacture of whiskey, rum and the like, then, is really a 
step in the process of the manufacture of ethyl alcohol for commercial 
use. The alcohol, still too dilute, is subjected to another distillation; 
it is ' rectified.' This rectification is carried out with the assistance 
of an ingenious but simple contrivance with the somewhat pompous 
name of dephlegmator. A dephlegmator consists essentially of a 
series of chambers, one above the other, each succeeding chamber a 

4 For particulars see any one of the numerous excellent texts on the subject. 
Among the best are, ' Handbuch der Spiritusfabrikation,' by M. Maercker, eighth 
edition, and ' Practical Treatise on the Distillation and Rectification of Alcohol,' 
by W. T. Brannt. 



DENATURED ALCOHOL 249 

little lower in temperature than the one beneath it. The alcohol vapor 
and water vapor from the still beneath pass through this dephlegmator, 
and it is readily seen that much of the water and some of the alcohol 
must condense in it and trickle back into the still. Inasmuch as alco- 
hol condenses at a lower temperature than water it has the better 
chance to pass clear through, and into the condenser and receiver. 
Many modifications of this machine are on the market and they are 
all efficient. It is an easy matter, with it, to obtain 80 per cent, to 90 
per cent, alcohol, and not difficult to obtain 95 per cent, alcohol. The 
last four or five per cent, of water clings hard to the alcohol and can 
not be removed by distillation alone. If it is desired to make yet 
purer alcohol, some substance such as lime, which combines eagerly 
with water, must be added to hold the water back, and then practically 
pure alcohol may be distilled off. Pure alcohol containing no water 
(100 per cent.) is known as absolute alcohol. But such pure alcohol 
is needed only for a few special chemical processes ; there is no general 
demand for anything better than 95 per cent. Indeed, absolute alco- 
hol has what may be called an avidity for water; it is hygroscopic, and 
if left in an open bottle will soon collect moisture out of the air and 
dilute itself. 

It is evident that any distillery in the country — and there are about 
one thousand of them producing upwards of one hundred and fifty 
millions of ' tax gallons ' a year — can increase its output to correspond 
to the demand which may spring up. The permission to market the 
product free of tax, if denatured, will then, in the first instance, merely 
furnish another outlet for the products of these distilleries. A new 
factory will find itself immediately in competition with the old estab- 
lished plants. 

The question next arises, are there any methods of making alcohol 
other than those by which spirituous liquors are made? In the sense 
that spirituous liquors are essentially nothing but more or less dilute 
alcohol such other methods are obviously impossible. But there are 
methods starting with very different raw materials. 

Berthelot, the French chemist, long ago showed how ethyl alcohol 
might be made synthetically from inorganic materials. The destruc- 
tive distillation of coal gives us coal gas, and one of the constituents 
of this is ethylene. This ethylene will dissolve in sulphuric acid form- 
ing ethyl-sulphuric acid. If we add water and distil, ethyl alcohol is 
given off and collects in the receiver, while the sulphuric acid may be 
recovered in its original condition. At the present time we can start 
even farther back than Berthelot's starting point. A mixture of lime 
and charcoal heated in an electric furnace will give us calcium carbide. 
This calcium carbide, with water, will give us acetylene, and the acety- 
lene will combine with hydrogen to form ethylene. Then the rest of 



250 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

the process follows the outline laid down by Berthelot. This amounts 
to making our alcohol out of charcoal and water, and electrical energy 
derived from water power, with the assistance of some chemical re- 
agents, which can be recovered and used over again. The process is 
simple and practical, but it costs considerably more to make alcohol 
this way than by fermentation, therefore there is no likelihood that 
installations on this plan will be put into operation yet awhile. 

Now and then articles appear in the newspapers with such titles as 
' Alcohol from Sawdust,' or ' Alcohol from Old Newspapers/ titles 
calculated to rouse the interest (perhaps the cupidity also) of readers, 
and conveying the impression that here at last is a new and brilliant 
discovery. There is nothing very new about it. Alcohol was first 
made from wood about one hundred years ago, and chemists have 
turned their attention sporadically to improving the methods ever 
since. 

In round numbers 50 per cent, of the weight of wood is cellulose, 
a substance containing the same elements, in the same proportions by 
weight, as starch. Starch, under the influence of a suitable enzyme, or 
of a dilute acid, can be converted to fermentable sugar; and so can 
cellulose, although with greater difficulty and much less completely. 
Newspapers are made from wood pulp and are almost wholly cellulose. 
Many other things are largely cellulose, for instance, corn stalks, linen, 
hemp, flax, cotton (cotton wool is practically pure cellulose). From 
any of these ethyl alcohol may be made, indeed, Melsen of Brussels, 
as long ago as 1855, appears to have amused himself by seeing how 
long a list of substances he could compile from which he could say he 
had made ethyl alcohol. 5 His list included, besides those materials 
already mentioned, such things as dead leaves, stubble, straw, chaff, 
sweepings from malt, carrot tops, sponges, even birds' nests ! 

A complete history of all the partial successes would be tedious 
to any but professional chemists. The difficulty has always been, and 
still is, that only a small percentage of the cellulose present can be 
converted into fermentable sugar. This means that large quantities 
of material must be handled, large amounts of acids must be used, 
a great deal of fuel must be burned in heating these large quantities, 
and, after all, a relatively small amount of alcohol is obtained. If 
a weight of alcohol equal to 7 per cent, of the weight of the wood 
is secured, the yield must be considered good. Even this sounds 
promising because wood is cheap. But it should be understood that 
it is not the cost of the raw material which constitutes the obstacle; 
it is the cost of treatment. 

Simonsen's and Classen's processes may be taken as illustrative 
of the best present methods for making ethyl alcohol from wood. 
They are being tried on a commercial scale in Germany. 

5 See Dingler's Polytechnisches Journal, Vol. 138, p. 426, 1856. 



DENATURED ALCOHOL 251 

A large cylindrical vessel, of a capacity somewhat over 1,600 gal- 
lons, lined with lead which is not attacked by dilute sulphuric acid, 
is mounted in such a way that it may be revolved to agitate the con- 
tents. It is strongly built to resist considerable pressures. Such an 
instrument, whether large or small, intended for carrying out re- 
actions under the combined influence of heat and pressure, is called 
an autoclave. 

In Simonsen's process the autoclave is charged with 100 kilo- 
grams (220 lbs.) of sawdust and between 300 and 500 kilograms of 
dilute sulphuric acid (0.5 per cent. acid). Steam is blown in through 
openings in the axles until the whole has reached a temperature of 
100° Centigrade (212° Fahr.), when the autoclave is closed. Then 
it is heated to about 175° Centigrade, the pressure in the interior 
simultaneously rising to about 135 lbs. per square inch. These con- 
ditions are maintained for about half an hour, while the contents 
are thoroughly stirred by rotation. The autoclave is then opened 
and the liquid is filtered off from the solid residue. A portion of the 
cellulose, under the influence of the acid, the heat and the pressure, 
has been converted to glucose, fermentable sugars, which are soluble 
and so are contained in the liquid, the filtrate. The solid residue is 
made up into briquettes for fuel. The acid in the filtrate is almost 
neutralized with lime (it is desirable to leave it feebly acid), and this 
necessitates another filtration, for the neutralization results in the 
formation of a solid precipitate of calcium sulphate which must 
be removed. Yeast, and a small amount of nutrient material for the 
yeast, are then added, and the whole is maintained at a temperature 
of 25° Centigrade for from three to five days. At the end of this 
time the fermentation is complete. The first distillation yields a 
15 per cent, alcohol and a second distillation brings the concentration 
of the alcohol up to about 75 per cent. 

Pine and fir wood give about the same quantities of alcohol, birch is 
better for the purpose. In a general way hard woods appear to give 
better results than soft woods. Seven liters of absolute alcohol from 
100 kilograms of sawdust containing 20 per cent, of moisture must 
be considered a satisfactory yield. 

Simonsen estimates that he can make 100 liters of absolute alcohol 
for 5.86 Marks, that is, at a cost of about 5% cents a gallon. If 
this estimate were strictly correct, the process could compete with 
those based on the direct fermentation of agricultural produce; if 
it were strictly correct, it is reasonable to suppose that there would be 
more factories making alcohol from wood than there are. 

Classen's process is similar to Simonsen's, but the chemistry of it 
appears to be more economical. Classen runs sulphur dioxide gas 
(which can be easily and cheaply obtained in any of the numerous 



252 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

localities where there are deposits of iron pyrites) into the autoclave. 
The sulphur dioxide gas, under pressure, penetrates the pores of 
the wood, and uniting with the moisture there forms sulphurous acid, 
which serves the purpose of the more expensive sulphuric acid in 
Simonsen's process. When the autoclave is opened the excess of sul- 
phurous acid gas is easily driven off and may be used on a fresh por- 
tion of wood. Furthermore, as less acid is left, less lime is required 
for the neutralization which must precede the fermentation. The 
claim is made that 25 gallons of absolute alcohol have been made from 
one long ton of sawdust by Classen's process. 

Numerous modifications have been suggested, tried and patented, 
but this is not the place to enter upon a detailed account of these re- 
finements. Perhaps the most interesting is the claim made by Gentzen 
and Eoth in their patent that the addition of ozone, while the wood 
is being acted upon by acids and is under pressure, materially in- 
creases the amount of cellulose converted into dextrose, glucose and 
fermentable sugars. 

The methods may be said to be on the verge of financial success 
and some small change or addition may any day convert a moderately 
profitable process into a brilliant success. Problems for physical 
chemists abound in these processes. We need to know exactly the 
most favorable concentration of acid, the best temperatures and pres- 
sures to be applied and the proper length of time during which the 
acid, heat and pressure should be allowed to act. Some work has been 
done on these questions and more is being done. For instance, it has 
been proved that prolonged action of the acid is harmful, for fer- 
mentable sugars which are formed early are later destroyed. It is 
therefore necessary to interrupt the process at the right time. Such 
experiments cost money and the time of highly educated men, and no 
one would dare to say positively that they would result in the discovery 
of a bonanza. Unfortunately, our manufacturers do not yet realize 
of what value truly scientific, highly trained, high-priced men would 
be to them, while the German manufacturers do, and so we may ex- 
pect these, and almost all other such experiments, to be carried out, 
and the results to be obtained, in Germany. We shall get them after 
they have passed through the patent office and shall, very likely, soon 
be making large quantities of ethyl alcohol from wood, paying royalties 
to Germans for the privilege. 

The suggestion has been made that a process for the manufacture 
of alcohol might be run profitably in conjunction with wood-pulp paper 
mills. There does not appear to be the least chance of utilizing the 
waste from the end of the sulphite process because it contains little 
or nothing fermentable. It has already been subjected for a long while 
to the action of sulphurous acid and the fermentable sugars, pro- 



DENATURED ALCOHOL 253 

duced by a brief action of sulphurous acid on cellulose, have been de- 
stroyed again by the prolongation of the action. 

But, in the manufacture of the pulp, the wood chips are often given 
a preliminary treatment to soften and partially disintegrate them. 
It seems perfectly possible that a liquor might be obtained at this 
stage of the manufacture which could be worked up into alcohol. 

Denaturants 

The properties which an ideal denaturant should have may be 
summed up under five heads and they are as follows: 

1. It must render the alcohol undrinkable. 

2. It must be cheap, otherwise the advantages of ' free ' alcohol are 
lost. 

3. It must be 'separable from the alcohol only with difficulty and 
at considerable cost. 

It seems to the writer that government officials show a tendency 
to be more cautious than necessary regarding this feature of denaturing 
agents. Such a thing as a denaturant which a chemist could not re- 
move probably does not exist, and so it is wholly a question of the 
degree of difficulty, and the cost, of the purification. If this difficulty 
and cost be never so little more than those involved in the manu- 
facture of new alcohol from raw materials, it should be considered 
as fulfilling the requirements. Dishonest individuals, bent on swin- 
dling the government out of its revenues, would set up illicit stills 
rather than attempt to ' renature ' denatured alcohol. But the gov- 
ernment demands are much in excess of this standard. 

4. It must be readily detected, in order that revenue officers may 
determine with ease whether a given liquid contains denatured alcohol 
or not. 

5. It must not interfere with the use of the alcohol for those 
purposes permitted by law. 

It is by no means easy to find substances fulfilling all these re- 
quirements; in fact, although the list of possibilities has been gone 
over and over again by the ablest living chemists for a matter of 
twenty years or more, the subject is by no means closed. All the 
denaturants tried and proposed are unsatisfactory in one way or 
another, and the governments of Bussia, France and Germany offer 
prizes ranging from $4,000 to $20,000 for any denaturant which can 
be proved to be a distinct improvement over those in use. 

Wood spirit, by which is meant, as has already been said, a crude 
methyl alcohol containing many impurities, notably in the neighbor- 
hood of 25 per cent, of acetone, obtained as one of the products of 
the dry distillation of wood, is one of the most satisfactory denaturing 
agents. It is difficult to remove from ethyl alcohol, it is readily de- 



254 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

tected and it is fairly cheap. Alcohol, denatured by the addition of 
10 per cent, of wood spirit and nothing else, has been on the market in 
England for years under the name of 'methylated spirit.' On the 
other hand, it does not impart to the alcohol such a repulsive odor 
and taste but what some perverts drink it if nothing else alcoholic 
is obtainable. According to the Lancet and other English papers, 
this terribly injurious habit has already reached alarming proportions 
and is on the increase. A penny will buy in 'methylated spirits' as 
much alcohol as is contained in a glass of whiskey. 

One of the strong arguments brought forward in support of the 
1 free alcohol ' measure was that methyl alcohol had been substituted 
in numerous industries where ethyl alcohol would have been better, 
and that the health of those obliged to work constantly in an atmos- 
phere laden with the vapor of methyl alcohol was seriously impaired. 
The continuous inhalation of the vapor causes the same symptoms, in a 
milder degree, as those following the drinking of the alcohol, notably 
affections of the eyes. Those whose business it is to denature alcohol 
with wood spirits unavoidably labor under these disadvantages, but 
denatured alcohol containing 10 per cent, of the wood spirit will cause 
troubles of this character only under exceptional circumstances. 

To make denatured alcohol yet less potable, German law requires 
the addition of a second substance, pyridine. The danger can not be 
wholly eliminated, as there have always been found at least a few so 
degenerate as to drink the most disgusting mixtures if only they con- 
tain alcohol. The so-called pyridine bases are obtained from the dis- 
tillation of bones and also from tar. They constitute a somewhat oily 
liquid, soluble in both alcohol and in water, and they have such an 
utterly repulsive odor and taste that the addition of small quantities 
permits of the material reduction in the amount of ' wood spirit ' used 
in denaturing. In Germany, alcohol is denatured by the addition 
of 2 per cent, of wood spirit and % of 1 per cent, of these pyridine 
bases. 

But these pyridine bases have serious disadvantages also. They are 
volatile, and when denatured alcohol containing them is burnt in a 
spirit lamp the penetrating and highly unpleasant odor is perceptible 
in the room. They are combustible and should be wholly consumed, 
but when the lamp is blown out the parts about the wick remain warm 
and this heat volatilizes a portion of the liquid. If much of the vapor 
of pyridine be breathed it produces a severe headache, the same sort of 
seemingly unendurable pain which is produced by inhaling the vapor 
of nitro-glycerine. The injurious effect of pyridine on the health of 
those employed in denaturing alcohol has been the subject of discus- 
sions in the German Eeichstag. The government of Germany permits 
the addition of small quantities of lavender oil to partially disguise 



DENATURED ALCOHOL 255 

the detestable odor, and recently has permitted a reduction in the re- 
quired amount of pyridine bases, substituting for it some benzine. 
The experience of Germany indicates that pyridine, in spite of its dis- 
advantages, is, on the whole, the best general denaturant known. 

In Austria-Hungary the standard denaturant is practically the 
same as in Germany. In France it is much the same as in England — 
to 100 liters of alcohol are added 10 liters of wood spirit which must 
contain 25 per cent, of acetone and certain other impurities. Besides 
this, other substances must be added, the nature of the second substance 
varying according to the destination of the product. For instance, if 
the alcohol is to be used for heating, the addition must be half a liter 
of ' benzine ' ; if it is to be used for lighting, four per cent, of resin 
must be added. 

We are to have our choice between the methods of France and of 
Germany. According to Regulations USTo. 30 of the United States 
Internal Eevenue and to circulars Nos. 680 and 686 issued by the 
Treasury Department, alcohol may be denatured by adding to each 
hundred liters of alcohol of not less than 180° proof, ten liters of 
wood spirits and half a liter of benzine, or by adding to that quantity 
of the alcohol two liters of wood spirit and half a liter of pyridine 
bases. The wood spirit, benzine and pyridine bases, with which the 
denaturing is to be done, must be ' approved.' " The methyl alcohol 
submitted must be partially purified wood alcohol obtained by the de- 
structive distillation of wood." " It must contain not more than 25 
or less than 15 grams per 100 c.c. of acetone and other substances 
estimated as acetone." ..." The benzine submitted for approval 
must be a hydrocarbon product derived either from petroleum or coal 
tar." " It must be of such character as to impart a decided odor to 
ethyl alcohol when mixt [sic] with it in the proportion of one half 

8 This word benzine is sadly overworked. Spelled with an e, benzene, it is 
the correct scientific name for a definite chemical compound of the composition 
represented by the formula C 6 H 8 . Spelled with an i, benzine or benzin, it is often 
used to mean benzene, toluene, xylene, mesitylene, or several other things obtained 
from the distillation of coal, or a mixture of any two or more of these things. 
More frequently it means any one of the score of substances obtained in the dis- 
tillation of crude American petroleum before the temperature is high enough to 
drive off what we call kerosene. That is to say, it may mean rhigolene, cymogene, 
gasolene, or naphtha, petroleum-ether or ligroin, or a mixture of these. As these 
are themselves mixtures, the confusion is worse confounded. Many, if not most 
chemists, in an effort to avoid misunderstandings, adopted the German word 
benzol to indicate that definite and important compound O e H 6 , but the relief was 
for but a little while. Now benzol, too, has begun to be used in certain indus- 
tries, as if it were synonymous with benzine or benzene. When one of these 
three words is used it is impossible to tell immediately what is meant; the 
meaning may be deducible later from the context, frequently it is not, as the 
chances are almost even that the speaker himself does not know. It covers a 
multitude of inaccuracies; perhaps that is why the word is so popular. 



256 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

of one part by volume." The rest of the tests which must be applied 
and to which the denaturants must conform are not of general interest. 

As the presence of denaturing agents prevents the use of the alco- 
hol in numerous processes, other countries have long lists of substances 
used to partially denature alcohol destined for use in particular indus- 
tries, partially protecting it, as it were, in transit from the factory in 
which it is made to that in which it is consumed. For instance, in 
France, alcohol intended for use in the manufacture of aniline dyes 
may be denatured by adding to 50 liters of the alcohol 50 liters of 
nitro-benzene or of nitro-toluene, and 10 grams of sodium hydroxide 
dissolved in 20 liters of alcohol. For varnishes, the product put on 
the market must contain 75 grams of resin per liter. There are in all 
about fifty different processes allowed for partial denaturing for as 
many special purposes. In Germany, for the manufacture of polish, 
alcohol may be denatured with one half of one per cent, of turpentine ; 
for the manufacture of varnish, with 20 per cent, of a solution of one 
part shellac in two parts of alcohol; for the manufacture of the anes- 
thetic, ethyl ether, and numerous other medicinal substances, with 10 
per cent, of ethyl ether; for the manufacture of acetic acid, or vinegar, 
with 6 per cent, or 8 per cent, of acetic acid; for the manufacture of 
smokeless powders, 1 per cent, of camphor; and so on through a list 
as long as that in France. 

Partially denatured alcohol never wholly leaves the watchful care 
of the guardians of the law. No list of partial denaturants permissible 
in this country has been determined upon. Interested parties are in- 
vited to make their suggestions and requests and these will be consid- 
ered by the commissioner of internal revenue. 

Uses of Denatured Alcohol 

Every one knows from actual experience how clean and convenient 
spirit lamps are. There is never any soot nor smelly oil to be cleaned 
up, lamp chimneys remain clear and transparent and wicks require no 
trimming. The products of the combustion of ethyl alcohol are water 
and carbon dioxide, absolutely odorless and as harmless as any prod- 
ucts of combustion can possibly be. It is much less inflammable than 
gasoline, and therefore safer. Water thrown on burning alcohol will 
immediately extinguish the fire, as alcohol is soluble in water in all 
proportions, while water thrown on burning oil or gasoline only makes 
matters worse. Oil and gasoline are lighter than water and are not 
soluble in it, so they float on top and continue to burn; throwing on 
water only spreads the fire. 

Measured in terms of units of heat, calories, a given weight of ethyl 
alcohol is about twice as effective as an equal weight of petroleum. Its 
convenience, cleanliness, safety and adaptability to almost any sort of 



DENATURED ALCOHOL 2 si 

burner in almost any place, is such that it would undoubtedly be pre- 
ferred to all other fuels for all purposes if it were not for the cost. 

The presence of any denaturing agent robs it, to a greater or a less 
extent, of some of its natural advantages. The odor of the denaturant 
is apt to be detected either before, during or after combustion. 

Denatured alcohol has been found to dissolve some metals, notably 
brass. Of course the solvent effect is not rapid, but yet it is constantly 
under way and necessitates repairs to metallic lamps. The metal dis- 
solves as a salt which is left on the wick when the more volatile alcohol 
burns, encrusting the wick and necessitating occasional cleaning or 
trimming. This crust interferes with the efficiency of the lamp 
whether it be used for heating or for light. But that is not the worst 
feature of the solution of metals in the alcohol. The small quantities 
of metal are in part volatilized and are deposited on any object which 
is being heated. Platinum crucibles are quickly ruined by this action 
and this alone is sufficient to absolutely prohibit the use of denatured 
alcohol in chemical laboratories. 

Some investigations have been made to determine which constitu- 
ent of denatured alcohol is responsible for this solvent action. Neither 
pure ethyl alcohol nor pure methyl alcohol nor pure pyridine, nor yet 
pure ' benzine ' would dissolve metals. The most recent work appears 
to fix the blame on small quantities of organic esters, formed during 
fermentation and left in the alcohol itself, which of course is not so 
carefully purified, if it is to be denatured, as if it were intended for 
drinking purposes. This might appear to be a small detail, but is not, 
for it affects the usefulness of denatured alcohol for heat, light and 
power also. Anything corrosive in action could not be tolerated in the 
cylinder of an engine any more than it could in contact with a pla- 
tinum crucible in the chemical laboratory. 

The efficiency of a gas engine is the greater the greater the com- 
pression of the charge, the mixture of gas or vapor and air, before the 
explosion. Compression can not be carried far with gasoline, for com- 
pression, of course, heats gases, and gasoline catches fire so easily it is 
apt to explode prematurely, i. e., while the piston head is traveling the 
wrong way. The fact that alcohol is less readily inflammable makes 
it possible to compress mixtures of air and alcohol much more without 
danger of premature ignition. Therefore a larger percentage of the 
power in alcohol can be utilized, it is more efficient. In parallel ex- 
periments Diesel obtained 17.6 per cent, of the power in kerosene as 
mechanical energy, 20.5 per cent, of the power in gasoline, and 31.7 
per cent, of the power in ethyl alcohol. Those competent to judge say 
it will not be difficult to obtain 40 per cent, of the power in alcohol as 
mechanical work done. But, on the other hand, there is less power in 
alcohol than there is in the petroleum products, weight for weight, as 

VOL. lxx. — 17 



258 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

is shown by the relative heats of combustion to which reference has 
already been made. So that, at the present time, it is about an even 
thing between the two sources of power, weight for weight, with the 
chances good that American ingenuity will develop an alcohol motor 
superior to the gasoline motor. 

Alcohol engines used abroad require a preliminary warming up 
before they will start. They are sometimes started with gasoline, and 
sometimes 25 per cent, of gasoline is added to the alcohol to cause it 
to ignite more readily. This may militate against alcohol as a motive 
power at the outset, but even now there are to be found in the current 
literature descriptions of alcohol engines which will start even without 
this brief preliminary warming. 

Numerical data as to the consumption of alcohol per horse power 
are abundant. On the average, in small motors, the consumption at 
present may be taken at about one and a half pints of alcohol per 
brake horse-power hour. Professor Lucke, of Columbia, commissioned 
by the government, is now engaged upon a series of exhaustive tests 
of alcohol motors, and his results will be interesting. 

Alcohol burns with a non-luminous flame. There are two general 
methods by which it may be made to furnish light. First, by adding 
some liquid, like ' benzine,' to it, which causes the flame to become 
luminous, and second, to utilize the heat to heat a mantle such as the 
ordinary Auer von Welsbach gas mantle, to incandescence. 

A mixture consisting of 65 per cent, to 85 per cent, denatured 
alcohol and 35 per cent, to 15 per cent, of the distillate from coal tar, 
boiling between 150° and 160° Centigrade (mainly mesitylene) is on 
the market in Germany. It is known as e Plehn's fluid ' and burns 
with a luminous flame. 

Before the discovery of mineral oil a mixture of ethyl alcohol and 
a very pure turpentine which was known as camphene 7 was largely 
used as an illuminant. It is of course possible to return to the cus- 
toms of our grandfathers, but unfortunately the price of turpentine 
has risen enormously in the meanwhile. 

On the whole the other method, burning alcohol with a non- 
luminous flame to heat a mantle on the plan of the Welsbach gaslight, 
is probably to be preferred to methods for making the flame itself 
luminous. It may be a little discouraging to prospective patentees in 

7 Camphene is another word almost as ambiguous as ' benzine.' Camphene 
is the correct scientific name for a definite chemical compound, a solid terpene 
of the formula C 10 H 16 . Turpentine is a mixture of pinene,. also of the formula 
C 10 H 16 , but a liquid, and other similar substances; purified, it contains a higher 
per cent, of pinene, but is a mixture still, not pure pinene and certainly not 
camphene. This appropriation of scientific names by dealers to imply a higher 
degree of purity than actually exists in their wares is a constant source of con- 
fusion and a real hindrance to the dissemination of accurate knowledge. 



DENATURED ALCOHOL 259 

this country to learn that lamps burning alcohol for light on this prin- 
ciple are to be numbered literally by the hundreds in Germany to-day. 
At a recent competition in that country for a prize for the best lamp 
no less than 99 new designs were entered. 

These lamps are efficient, the best using only 16 to 20 cubic centi- 
meters of 95 per cent, alcohol for ten hefner candle power hours. 
They are long lived, and will last without renewal of wick or mantle 
much longer than the ordinary incandescent electric lamp lasts. Not 
the least of their advantages in these days of domestic difficulties and 
problems is their extreme cleanliness. 

The questions as to the efficiencies of the denatured alcohol lamps 
may be summed up by giving the results obtained by Professor Rous- 
seau of Brussels. He has carried out many experiments and concludes 
that denatured alcohol at 31 cents a gallon furnishes a slightly cheaper 
light than kerosene at 15 cents a gallon. 

But the subject is by no means closed. These alcohol lamps are 
slow in getting started and a minute or a minute and a half elapses 
after the match is applied before they are emitting their maximum 
light. This is because a portion of the alcohol must be vaporized be- 
fore the heat is great enough to raise the mantle to full incandescence. 
This little detail is enough to condemn the lamps with many. That 
their imperfections are fully recognized is demonstrated by the fact 
that the government of France offers a prize of $10,000 for a device 
to burn alcohol under exactly the same conditions under which petro- 
leum may be burned for lighting purposes. Similar prizes are also 
awaiting the fortunate inventor in Germany. 

Questions involving the use of denatured alcohol in chemical indus- 
tries must be omitted here, as anything like an adequate exposition 
would require much space. They are questions of great magnitude, 
involving perhaps the establishment of large and important manufac- 
tories. 

In these as in all the uses of alcohol the presence of any denaturing 
agent whatever is at best a great nuisance. As was justly said by 
Professor Erdmann, of Halle, in a discussion of the subject, "It is 
most illogical and contrary to the most self-evident principles of econ- 
omy to go to an expense in order to make a useful material less use- 
ful." But, as a recent newspaper editorial said, " It is one of the 
penalties which humanity as a whole must pay for the failings of a 
minority." 

Costs and Prices 

The cost of ethyl alcohol to the manufacturer is a subject upon 
which divergent opinions are held. It depends upon so many variable 
factors that it is doubtless different for each manufacturer, and more- 
over must differ from year to year if not from month to month. Cal- 



2 6o POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

culations as to what it should cost made from a given raw material 
by a certain process are apt to be misleading. Simonsen's calculation 
that a gallon of ethyl alcohol may be made from wood by his process 
for 5% cents is an illustration of this. Results of experience on a 
commercial scale are more trustworthy. 

Ethyl alcohol made from the molasses from sugar cane in Cuba 
and South American countries is sold at 10 cents a gallon. It takes 
about three gallons of this molasses to make one gallon of 100 per 
cent, alcohol. Assume that this molasses can be delivered at our sea- 
ports for 3 cents a gallon, and it is safe to say that alcohol can be made 
at those localities for 12 cents a gallon. 

Evidence was taken by the Committee on Ways and Means before 
the passage of the present law and brought out many interesting facts. 
In a letter to the committee, Mr. M. N. Kline, referring to a distillery 
in Peoria, Illinois, said that alcohol had been made there, from corn, 
at a cost of 5.2 cents per proof gallon, and that the average cost during 
the last ten years was 10.78 cents per proof gallon. The low value 
corresponds to about 10 cents, the average value to about 20 cents 
per gallon of 95 per cent, alcohol. Before the same committee Mr. 
Batchelder estimated that with corn at 30 cents a bushel 90 per cent, 
alcohol could be made for 11 to 12 cents a gallon; with corn at 40 
cents a bushel, for about 16 cents a gallon. He thought a fair price 
to distillers would be 20 cents a gallon. The concensus of opinion 
appears to be that corn is the most promising source of alcohol in 
this country, and the comparison, demonstrating the superiority of 
corn over potatoes, from which the bulk of the alcohol to be denatured 
is made in Germany, is carefully worked out by Dr. H. W. Wiley, 
of the Bureau of Agriculture, in recent Farmers' Bulletins, Nos. 268 
and 269. In these bulletins Dr. Wiley also calls attention to the 
great possibilities of the cassava root as a raw material. 

Secretary of Agriculture Wilson holds out very rosy prospects, 
and thinks it not impossible that alcohol may be made for three 
cents a gallon from corn cobs and from the juice of cornstalks at a 
certain period of their growth. Let us hope that Secretary Wilson's 
estimates may be justified by the events. 

The retail price of 95 per cent, alcohol in Germany, converting 
the values to our units of volume and money, has been as low as 15 
cents and at the present time is about 30 cents a gallon. That these 
prices do not always return satisfactory profits to the distillers is 
evident from an article published by Dr. E. Parow in the Jahrbuch 
des Vereins der Spiritusfabtikanten in Deutschland for 1906. After 
giving figures showing that there has been an overproduction of po- 
tatoes in Germany, because the increase in the demand for the prod- 
ucts, alcohol and starch, has not kept pace with the increased crops, 



DENATURED ALCOHOL 261 

he continues: "The old distilleries are still capable of existence 
to-day because they have moderately satisfactory established markets 
for their products, but more than this because they have in great 
measure already paid for themselves through sinking funds. New 
distilleries have not got this support. Money invested in them may 
be considered from the outset as lost. Hence one should advise as 
strongly as possible against the construction of new distilleries." Such 
pessimism as this is extreme, and German conditions are not Amer- 
ican conditions. Still, at a time when we hear almost nothing but 
highly favorable accounts, it is perhaps well to call attention to the 
fact that there is another side to the question. 

In the Farmers' Bulletins, already referred to, Dr. Wiley expresses 
the opinion that alcohol will not be sold in this country for less than 
40 cents a gallon. Judging from the evidence given before the com- 
mittee of congress and some of the other facts recited above, this price 
ought to furnish several eminently satisfactory profits. It may be hard 
to find any distiller of spirits ready to say that 20 cents a gallon is 
a fair price for his product, but it was, perhaps, easier to get close 
estimates before the passage of the bill than it is now that the bill 
has passed. It is to be hoped that the distillers will realize the danger 
that they may kill the goose, even before it has begun to lay golden 
eggs. 

Much depends upon this question of price. So far as one can judge, 
alcohol at 35 or 40 cents a gallon will be upon even terms with 
kerosene at present prices for lighting purposes; even at a higher 
price it will be preferred by many on account of its cleanliness and 
safety. For the same reasons it may be preferred for running small 
motors about farms, for threshing machines, etc. At 20 cents a 
gallon it is about an even thing whether it will be chosen in prefer- 
ence to gasoline for automobiles. 

On the other hand, the price of petroleum products may be low- 
ered if the competition of alcohol becomes strong. Mr. Young of 
Michigan, in his speech opposing the passage of the bill, 8 said petro- 
leum products could be bought in New York for 7 and a fraction 
cents a gallon by the barrel, and for 4 and a fraction cents a gallon 
in bulk. He also estimated the production of petroleum products 
in 1905 at the enormous quantity of 5,000 million gallons, and be- 
lieves that the Standard Oil Company could sell for even less than 
4 cents a gallon, if they thought it necessary, in order to retain 
their markets, and to drive out alcohol. Such figures make the pros- 
pects of denatured alcohol for heating and for power appear dubious. 

In the hearings before the committee of Ways and Means it de- 
veloped that in the northwest, for instance in North Dakota, petroleum 

8 See Congressional Record, Vol. 40, part 6, pp. 5317-5334. 



262 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

products are high, while corn is cheap. Here, at least, denatured 
alcohol may be expected to displace gasoline. What applies to North 
Dakota applies equally well to many semi-isolated agricultural dis- 
tricts far from large markets, provided the alcohol can be made on 
the spot. 

Whether or not the denatured alcohol business will become the 
property of a trust which will regulate prices is an interesting ques- 
tion. If the Standard Oil Company looks with such perfect equa- 
nimity at the advent of denatured alcohol upon the market, as Mr. 
Young attributes to it, it is strange rumors should so constantly ap- 
pear in the newspapers that the Standard Oil Company is buying up 
the distilleries. These rumors might, indeed, be ascribed to the 
agitation in favor of the bill before it was passed, but this does not 
explain the persistence with which these rumors have been repeated 
during the last few months, since the passage of the act. The ex- 
perience of. other countries is worth noting in this connection. During 
the last year or so an alcohol trust has been formed in Spain, with 
headquarters at Madrid, and another was formed a year ago in Greece, 
with headquarters at Pyrseus. Even one of the oldest of countries 
appears willing in these days to learn the tricks of trade from one of 
the youngest. 

Any monopolization of the business of making alcohol would be 
totally impossible if nature were allowed to take its course. The 
process of manufacture is so simple and so readily carried out, and 
on a small scale requires so small a capital outlay, that groups of 
farmers could easily associate themselves and construct distilleries to 
convert their surplus crops into alcohol. Nearly every county in an 
agricultural district could have such a distillery and its products 
would find a ready market at home for light and power. The Com- 
missioner of Internal Eevenue, Mr. Yerkes, is reported to have been 
asked, some months ago, if there was anything in the free alcohol bill 
to prevent farmers and smaller merchants from so banding together; 
whether any provision of the bill would result in throwing the new 
industry into the hands of the distillers or of any other trust. He 
replied, ' Nothing whatever.' 

A study of the rules and regulations which were issued September 
29, 1906, to govern the manufacture, denaturing and sale of denatured 
alcohol, leads one to believe that he has supplied this omission; with- 
out a doubt unwillingly, and through a sense of his duty as custodian 
of the revenues, because Mr. Yerkes is well known to favor the ' free 
alcohol measure,' but none the less effectually. Such a labyrinthine web 
of restrictions and obstacles is surpassed in no other country or lan- 
guage, and is equaled only by the present United States Government 
restrictions on the distilling of spirituous liquors. It is more than 



DENATURED ALCOHOL 263 

likely to deter any from endeavoring to make and sell denatured alco- 
hol, except those who have already devoted a large share of a studious 
life to an endeavor to understand the present rules governing the dis- 
tillation of spirituous liquors. 

A few of these regulations are enough to give a fair idea of the 
whole 152 which require sixty-two good-sized, closely-printed pages for 
their statement. Any one desiring to denature alcohol must construct 
a bonded warehouse on the distillery premises. The most minute 
details of its construction are laid down, even to the make of locks used 
for locking the doors and securing the faucets and openings of the 
tanks. A room must be provided for an internal revenue officer whose 
duties appear to be largely to sit in the room and keep the keys in his 
pocket. " Not less than 300 wine gallons of alcohol can be withdrawn 
at one time for denaturing purposes." The denaturants after being 
approved must be kept locked in the bonded warehouse until used. 
Exact instructions concerning the bookkeeping of the establishment 
are given. The denaturants must be ' thoroly mixt ' [sic] with the 
alcohol in the presence of a revenue officer. If no mistakes have been 
made thus far (and any mistake involves a stoppage of the process, 
the filling out of numerous legal blanks, and reference to an endless 
chain of supervisors, inspectors, collectors, and chemists), the manu- 
facturer may draw off his product ' thru ' his approved pipes and 
locks into receptacles of not less than 5 gallons, nor more than 135 
gallons capacity, " all of which receptacles must be painted light 
green." Under no circumstances is a package containing denatured 
alcohol to be of any other color. It is to be hoped we may not 
be left too long in suspense as to the exact shade of green demanded 
for this momentous purpose. " Upon each head of the package shall 
be stenciled in red letters of not less than 114 inches in length by 1 
inch in width, the words, ' denatured alcohol.' " Seven other items 
of interest must be stenciled on the head, but probably through some 
oversight, the size and color of these letters do not appear to be speci- 
fied. Complete transcripts of records of the previous month must be 
sworn to before the tenth of the next month. The form of affidavit 
is given, nothing seems to be forgotten, even the colors of the inks with 
which the records are to be written are prescribed. 

Next follow regulations for the sale of denatured alcohol, if any 
one ventures into the precarious business of making it, undaunted by 
the legal pitfalls and penalties provided. ' Manufacturers of and deal- 
ers in beverages of any kind ' are not permitted to keep nor store dena- 
tured alcohol; they are in danger of the strong arm of the law if they 
so much as have a light green cask with red letters on it in their pos- 
session. Druggists are mercifully exempt from this prohibition. 
Permits, which must be renewed each year, must be obtained before 



264 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

any dealer can sell denatured alcohol. Apparently these permits cost 
nothing beyond the trouble of getting them, the filling out of forms, 
a few oaths, etc. Dealers must make monthly reports under oath of 
purchase, sale and stock on hand. All premises and all books of dena- 
tures and of all dealers in or users of denatured alcohol must be open 
at all hours of the day and night to revenue agents and deputy col- 
lectors. 

There is, of course, an equally elaborate system of safeguards cover- 
ing the manufacture and use of partially denatured alcohol. If, in 
the course of a manufacturing process alcohol is used as a solvent and 
is recovered, it can not be redistilled except in the presence of a rev- 
enue agent. An almost overwhelming number of application forms, 
directions and prohibitions apply to this redistilling of recovered alco- 
hol also. 

It does not seem too much to say that the present rules about ex- 
plode all hopes that small factories can be established in rural districts 
to convert an overproduction of potatoes, and the like, into fuel, a 
source of light, or a readily transported and marketable product. It 
does not seem too much to say that these rules inevitably throw the 
new industry into the hands of established distilleries, i. e., into the 
hands of the whiskey trust. 

A Standard Oil expert is quoted as reporting that denatured alco- 
hol is not now in a position to rival petroleum products, but that it 
is a very favorable product to control. It is, indeed, a favorable prod- 
uct to control. Made by the growth of plants utilizing carbon dioxide 
and water from the atmosphere, it contains nothing but carbon, hydro- 
gen and oxygen. All the rest of the plant may be returned to the soil, 
which thus is not impoverished. It is the best method known to us 
to-day to store the sun's energy. By its means the rotation of the 
seasons can be made to give an inexhaustible supply of light, power 
and heat. Some way should be found to safeguard our precious rev- 
enue, and at the same time to leave this valuable agent for the progress 
of civilization as free as the air, sunshine and rain from which it is 
made. 



SPELLING REFORM 265 



SPELLING REFORM AND THE CONSERVATION OF ENERGY 

By Professor W. LE CONTE STEVENS 

WASHINGTON AND LEK UNIVERSITY 

n~^HE basis of modern physical science is the conservation of energy. 
-■- This doctrine, that the sum of the energy in our universe is 
constant while its modes of manifestation and transformation are 
indefinitely variable, has been established only within the last century, 
though vaguely foreshadowed many hundreds of years ago. Assuming 
the use of any machine for the transmission of energy, the amount of 
useful work done is less than the amount expended by the source be- 
cause a part must be absorbed in the production and maintenance of 
motion in the machine itself, and in friction. With the development 
of heat and the radiation of this from the machine, energy that was 
initially available becomes transformed and ceases to be available. 
Such economic loss is physically a conservation. 

The human brain is a machine for the transmission of energy, even 
though the work thus done may not be so readily measurable as that 
accomplished through the medium of a steam engine. The assimilation 
of food is the process by which energy from external sources is applied 
to the human machine and utilized through the medium of the brain. 
No physiologist has yet been able to analyze the mechanism of thought, 
but with the failure of the supply of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitro- 
gen, which in suitable combination constitutes food, the power of 
thought vanishes with the paralysis of the brain. The function of the 
educator is to guide and help young human beings to use to the best 
advantage every part of the human machine, and especially that part 
whose function is to originate ideas, to convey them by the use of 
suitable symbols, and to apply them for the benefit of the race. 

The use of words for the oral conveyance of ideas, or of what are 
intended to be such, has always been the favorite occupation of more 
than a single sex. Every speaker acquires his own habits of expression 
that become recognized among his associates. A certain amount of 
what we familiarly call mental energy is put by him into the expression 
of an idea. Another output of such energy is expended by the hearer 
in the effort to take in that idea. Success is usually only partial, as 
every practical teacher will sorrowfully admit. Clearness of thought 
must precede clearness of expression, and this in turn must precede 
clearness of apprehension. The man's style may not be ornate, it may 
not be conventionally elegant, but it is good in proportion to his sue- 



266 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

cess in conveying his ideas fully and accurately. In the process of 
transfer he has reduced the friction and the waste of inertia to the ut- 
most. The least amount of work has been lost in the operation of two 
machines, the giving and the receiving, which form temporarily a 
connected system ; and the active recipient's attention has been applied 
with good economy. 

Men do not require to be highly civilized before the need is felt for 
the registration of ideas in addition to their oral transfer. Ideas are 
first symbolized, and the translation of such symbols into words soon 
suggests that words may be independently symbolized. The process 
continues until words are analyzed into their components, and these 
also are symbolized as letters. The art of spelling is thus born. But 
whatever the stage of symbolization, the written idea can never be more 
than an imperfect reproduction of the spoken idea, because symbols 
are arbitrary. The interpretation of a group of symbols is a synthetic 
process, and the opportunities for misunderstanding are fairly well 
proportioned to the complexity of the word machine employed. 

The art of spelling is thus a development from early crude attempts 
to register spoken ideas and spoken words. The same word is often 
pronounced so differently by different speakers as to be scarcely recog- 
nizable. The English language when spoken by a highland Scotch 
or Welsh tongue to the ear of an American mountaineer fulfills quite 
well the dictum, commonly ascribed to Talleyrand, that the object of 
language is to conceal thought. From the very nature of the case spell- 
ing must vary as language varies. Orthodoxy may perhaps be as 
unchangeable as its representatives are prone to claim, but spelling has 
never been uniform, is not now uniform, and ought not to be more 
uniform than is the spoken language among the best educated scholars 
in great centers of population. 

So long as literature was limited to manuscripts copied by pro- 
fessional scribes and seen only by the few who could read, and whose 
tastes prompted them to indulgence in such pleasure, spelling was as 
unsettled as forms of speech. The invention of printing not only pro- 
duced a vast increase in the diffusion of reading matter, but tended 
to unify and give definiteness to the forms of symbolization. The 
railroad, the steamship, the telegraph and the printing press have 
been operated conjointly to bring all nations into closer communication 
than was ever foreshadowed by the optimistic dreams of our fore- 
fathers ; but the adoption of a single language for the civilized world is 
still so far away in the future that no one gives the matter any serious 
consideration. Such unification is conceivable, but if ever approached 
it must be by gradual and almost imperceptible evolution, and not by 
prescription from any source, however scholarly and apparently au- 
thoritative. A new language, like Volaptik, even though theoretically 
perfect, has not the ghost of a chance of adoption, because nobody is 



SPELLING REFORM 267 

willing to assume the labor of learning it or to use what would not be a 
practical means of communication. 

And so it is with spelling reform. Men have been free to spell in 
any way that seemed best adapted to the reproduction of what they 
wanted to convey. Variety in speech has been as natural as variety in 
personal character, in dress or in amusement. Inconsistencies in fash- 
ion will continue as long as men retain their personal liberty to select 
idioms, words and spellings that suit the individual fancy of the user. 
So long as a babel of different languages continues on earth will there 
be a corresponding babel of spellings. There is no remedy but self- 
interest. In making ourselves understood we are compelled to recog- 
nize the conservation of energy. The man who writes a sentence must 
consider not only his own thought-machine but also that of his reader. 
Personal liberty to spell as a writer may find easiest or think best is 
soon limited by the necessity to make himself easily intelligible. If his 
spelling is very different from what has gradually become the fashion, 
the blunderer is soon made aware that he is hard to understand, and 
self j interest teaches him to avoid interposing obstacles between himself 
and his constituency. 

The printing-press has been the great unifier in the establishment 
of fashion in spelling. But such fashion is not in the least sacred. In the 
spelling of the English language the fashion has been set for the most 
part in the printing office by foremen, or by mere type-setters who were 
entirely innocent of any hostile designs against orthography, etymology 
or logic. Professor Lounsbury has shown that the type-setting of the 
earlier books in our language was done mostly by printers who had 
come to England from the continent. In the city of Strasburg may 
be seen to-day a statue erected to the memory of Gutenberg, whose first 
crude invention of type was long unknown in England. Type-setting 
was initially and most naturally a German art, and it would have been 
very remarkable if the conservative and self-satisfied Englishman had 
been found ready to adopt promptly any art that had its origin outside 
of England. The intruding German or Dutchman could not be ex- 
pected to possess much English scholarship, and in the printing room 
nobody could direct him because no directions for spelling existed even 
among the authors themselves. The Anglo-Saxon language had grown 
naturally and healthily. The English language was not then known 
to have any separate existence or special individuality. It later received 
a large infusion of Norman-French, and the thought of consistency, 
of uniformity in spelling or in anything else, had not occurred to 
anybody. Chaucer was limited by no orthographic conventions, and if 
his spelling could be improved by the Dutch printer his readers prob- 
ably recognized the possibility that there might be room for improve- 
ment. It was not his fault if the improvement was confided to in- 
competent hands. His spelling was more consistent than that of to-day. 



268 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Such being the early development of our ' system ' of English spell- 
ing, it requires a peculiarly religious spirit to discover in it anything 
sacred or worthy of special protection. The only protection that can 
be reasonably asked is the protection of the individual from the trouble 
of changing his habits, and this collectively means the protection of 
society from the confusion and general inconvenience that would result 
from sudden change of any kind if this could be effected by radical 
reformers. No language exists in which the spelling is even approxi- 
mately phonetic. Italian, Spanish and German are among the most 
nearly exemplary tongues ; but any one who studies German in America 
and then goes to Germany to spend a year or two, gradually discovers 
a good many words of which he has to change his pronunciation. The 
contrast, however, between German and English is conspicuous. It 
would be a waste of time to dilate upon the inconsistencies, the foolish 
freaks and stupid absurdities of English spelling and pronunciation. 
The facts are quite generally admitted by all who possess even an 
elementary knowledge of linguistics. The practical question is merely 
that propounded thirty-five years ago by a famous criminal, ' What are 
you going to do about it ? ' 

Let it be granted that printers of various grades of ignorance dur- 
ing the last three or four centuries have accustomed the English-speak- 
ing public to the most inconsistent spelling with which any civilized 
people is loaded. All of us have spent months and years of early life 
in the effort to learn this spelling, not because there is anything edu- 
cative about it, but because of the unwritten law that inability to spell 
' correctly ' is a sign of illiteracy. During the childhood of the present 
writer this idea was emphasized to such an extent that in the spelling 
class common words were of little interest. He was trained to feel a 
certain pride in his ability to spell promptly and unerringly such test 
words as gauge, hough, sough, fuchsia, bdellium, phthisical, eleemosy- 
nary, metempsychosis, and tragododidascalicological. The spelling 
match each week was a source of excitement, perhaps comparable in a 
small way with such modern dissipation as bridge or football. All 
of us have gone through this mill with varying grades of success so 
that our eyes have become accustomed to the absurdities, and our as- 
sociations are violated when we look upon improved forms. It is easier 
to recognize 'though' than 'tho'; 'through' than 'thru'; 'kissed' 
than 'kist'; 'rhyme' than 'rime'; 'thoroughly' than 'thoroly.' 
Most persons think the improved forms unsightly. This means nothing 
except that they are unfamiliar. 

To reform our language to such an extent as to make it logical 
and consistent is scarcely conceivable. Attempts to do so have been 
made on paper, but practically they have resulted in nothing better 
than rainbow chasing. Our alphabet is radically bad, having a super- 
fluity of symbols for certain simple sounds, and no single symbols for 



SPELLING REFORM 269 

other elements of speech. Most of our vowels are sounded a variety 
of different ways, the most common ways being inconsistent with the 
sounds agreed upon in other modern languages. Spelling reformers 
have been agitating this matter for fifty years, but we are apparently 
no more ready to reform our alphabet now than when they began. 
Some of them, accepting the existence of an unchangeable alphabet, 
have persistently advocated the adoption of a strictly phonetic system 
of spelling; but, if they have made any practical progress outside of 
the volumes of proceedings of educational and philological conven- 
tions, it has been limited to the few enthusiasts who were willing to 
acquire the reputation of being peculiar and ill balanced. 

The movements in behalf of alphabetic reform and phonetic spelling 
have been made in complete disregard of the conservation of energy. 
The habits of the people must be recognized. A page of English printed 
in an amended alphabet is, to even intelligent persons, simply unread- 
able. It has to be slowly and painfully deciphered, like a page of Greek. 
It may, like Greek, be read if one will be patient enough, but the diffi- 
culties are crowded initially, and the man who is not a professional 
philologist exercises his right of choice and rejects what he finds bris- 
tling with difficulties. Let the page of English be printed now in 
ordinary type, but phonetically. The word ' physics,' for example, is 
spelled 'fizix.' This also, like Greek, may be deciphered, but the page 
will require a great waste of energy with no reward beyond the mastery 
of unnecessary difficulties. Let any business man conduct his corre- 
spondence for a single week in such style. His customers are immedi- 
ately convinced that the object of language thus expressed is to con- 
ceal thought, and the pecuniary results may be readily inferred. Let 
a publisher put forth a new book in phonetic spelling. On neither side 
of the Atlantic would one reader in a hundred be found ready to buy 
it, or patient enough to read it if curiosity has prompted the purchase. 

The recognition of these great obstacles to reform does not imply 
that whatever is, is right, or that reform is impossible. Let us assume 
that a cannon ball weighing half a ton is to be moved by a little child, 
using nothing stronger than cotton thread. It may be suspended by a 
steel chain from a support of known height, for example thirteen or 
fourteen feet, thus forming a big pendulum whose period is readily 
calculated to be about four seconds. Let the thread be attached to a 
hook on the side of the ball. A jerk from even a baby's hand is suffi- 
cient to snap it. But if a succession of gentle pulls be given at inter- 
vals of just four seconds, each too faint to break the thread, a few hours 
of such light work, patiently maintained, will be sufficient to make the 
pendulum swing through a perceptible arc. The advocates of alpha- 
betic and phonetic reform have been jerking the thread, and they will 
continually fail to move the ball so long as they refuse to recognize 
its formidable inertia. People who are accustomed to bad habits, 



2 7 o POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

whether relating to spelling or to anything else, need to be pulled 
gently, periodically and patiently. They are proof against argument, 
dictation, ridicule, legislation or physical force; but they will slowly 
yield if pulled in the right way and in the right succession. 

However important may have been the influence of half-educated 
printers in the fastening of a hereditary spelling disease upon the users 
of the English language, the responsibility does not rest wholly upon 
them. Like other people, printers endeavor to adapt themselves to 
popular demands. The great classical schools of England have done 
much to infuse Latin and Greek into the language and to cultivate 
classical forms of spelling. Against the orthographic riot due to the 
early printers a reaction was inevitable. They gradually discarded 
many of the worst word forms that had been brought into use, but in 
the selection of surviving forms they had but small guidance from 
competent scholars. An approach toward uniformity was made, but 
it was under the domination of conservatism rather than reason or 
consistency, and popular habits were formed with no regard for sim- 
plicity or etymology. In the earlier English dictionaries by Bailey 
and Johnson very little was done to correct the prevailing inconsist- 
encies. Johnson's great force of character made him a power among 
men. His knowledge of Latin was exceptional, but of etymology he 
knew little and cared less. As a lexicographer he was narrow, preju- 
diced and illogical. His dictionary was made the basis of Walker's 
dictionary, which in time attained wide currency on both sides of the 
Atlantic. 

In all of these dictionaries it was apparently assumed that the 
function of the lexicographer is to record and define the words in 
current use, but not to search out or expose inconsistencies. The 
incongruities of our language make the dictionary more important as 
a reference book than it deserves to be. To this day multitudes of 
people accept without question what they find as allowed spelling in 
Webster or Worcester; and they resent any criticism upon what they 
consider to be established by the favorite standard. 

What then are we to do about it ? 

The first and most important thing is to recognize the facts of 
human nature and the conservation of energy. This has been done by 
a small band of scholarly men, who have become incorporated during 
the year just ended as the Simplified Spelling Board, and to whom has 
been given the practical support of Andrew Carnegie and Theodore 
Eoosevelt. This board recognizes the futility of trying to coerce the 
public, of trying to change the alphabet, of trying to secure immediate 
phonetic spelling, of advocating any radical changes, however desirable 
these may be theoretically. It has no intention of trying to set the 
pendulum into motion by breaking the thread. Its chief object is to 
attract the attention of the public to the history and present condition 



SPELLING REFORM 271 

of English spelling; to convince the public that fashion in spelling is 
not sacred ; that our language is and ought to be a developing language ; 
that development should be guided as far as possible toward simplicity 
and directness. It advocates the gradual approach to simplicity by 
neglecting useless letters in words commonly employed. It does not 
claim for itself authority to standardize our language, but seeks to get 
rid of the excrescences which make our language unreasonably difficult. 
It wishes to secure the establishment and extension of good usage, to 
make it national and international. It does not expect to escape the 
criticism of those who have learned to love the faults of our tongue, 
but only asks to be treated with fairness and not to be condemned for 
what it has never advocated. 

As a first step the board has issued a now famous list of three 
hundred words which are commonly spelled in two or more ways, and 
it recommends the simplest of these spellings in every case. Many of 
the simple forms have already gained such currency in America as to 
be called Americanisms by our British cousins. Fifty years ago very 
few of them were current here, but their adoption has been steady, 
especially among business men, and their increasing popularity is 
based upon the American fondness for directness. On examining this 
list the present writer has found himself already habituated to the 
use of more than half of the simplified forms, though the more 
complex forms were all taught him in childhood. He is not conscious 
of having ever attained a local reputation for oddity in spelling. The 
changes in practise have been made gradually and to a large extent 
unconsciously. The remaining half of the list may perhaps become 
assimilated in due time, but no sudden change can be made now. It 
would be too inconvenient and difficult. As an advocate of simplified 
spelling he is unwilling to subject himself to an implied obligation to 
reverse old habits at once; but his mental attitude is that of approval 
and sympathy with a reform that is based on strong common sense. 
Inertia must be allowed for, and the pull on the pendulum must be 
properly timed. 

President Eoosevelt, Mr. Carnegie and the Simplified Spelling 
Board have been the objects of widely varying criticism. The greatest 
good they have done has been to focus public attention upon abuses 
which are of small concern to great people, but of great concern to small 
people. The little folks at school have no prejudices about ortho- 
graphic propriety, and no burdens should be piled upon them merely 
for the sake of maintaining old blunders. An English critic of Ameri- 
can ways considers it blasphemy .to spell ' Savior ' without a u. Let 
the English do as they find best ; ours is the American language. Our 
declaration of independence will involve no bloodshed. 

The opposition of Congress, and the consequent necessity for the 
withdrawal of President Eoosevelt's executive order in behalf of simpli- 



2 72 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

tied spelling, given to the public printer at Washington, was not a 
surprising development. The sudden adoption of two or three hun- 
dred changes at one time was too strong a jerk on the big' congressional 
pendulum. But all these simplified forms will quite surely be incor- 
porated in the great American dictionaries at an early day in their 
lists of alternative spellings. The public printer will thus be free 
to secure their gradual use in documents issued by the government. 
.Readers of periodicals in which the simplified forms have already been 
in use, such as The Literary Digest, find no difficulty in taking in ideas, 
even if such forms as ' tho/ ' thru ' and ' prest ' are occasionally encoun- 
tered. These periodicals are quietly doing effective work by dispelling 
the novelty of the improvements. In deference to public prejudice 
such forms as ' thru ' are perhaps best neglected for the present, while 
' tho ' is used, since consistency is of little importance in comparison 
with tact. The Simplified Spelling Board can only recommend; the 
public will do the adopting in response to gentle and well-timed per- 
suasion, and reasonable respect will be manifested toward the con- 
servation of energy. 

In conclusion the following propositions are presented by way of 
summary : 

1. Inability to spell conventionally is not necessarily or deservedly 
an index of illiteracy. 

2. Conventional spelling is a mere fashion, worthy of no respect 
when it implies the sacrifice of economy. In judging economy we 
must consider ease in the transfer of ideas. That spelling is best which 
is most readily intelligible. 

3. Nobody can be reasonably expected to adopt more than a few 
changes at a time. A writer occupies himself with ideas rather than 
verbal forms. The simplified forms must be applied chiefly in the 
printing office, where forms are all-important. Change of habit must 
result chiefly from the unconscious training received by the eye in 
reading such simplified forms already in print. 

4. Children should be taught simplified spelling. They will addi- 
tionally learn the old conventional forms outside of the school-room, 
and should be free to exercise their own preferences so long as they 
are consistent in the employment of either system. 

5. The simplification of our spelling does not imply the adoption 
of a new alphabet, or indulgence in objectionable phonetic eccentricities. 
All improvements are initially unfamiliar, and those who advocate them 
may be temporarily considered unfashionable, but reason in fashion 
has a better chance to prevail in America than in England, or in any 
other country where our common but necessarily variant language is 
spoken and written. 

6. For the improvement of spelling there is always the need of 
moderate and practical reformers. The same slow process of change 



SPELLING REFORM 273 

that has been distinctly perceptible during the last half century may 
be expected to continue, but at a diminishing rate if nothing is done 
to accelerate it. All fashions tend toward fixity; and unless change is 
urged by those who are willing to appear at times a little odd, the old 
absurdities will for the most part continue indefinitely. The language 
is not going to change itself as a result of being proved inconsistent. 
No fashion is ever changed except by the exercise of personal initiative, 
but to secure change regard must be had for the difficulties experienced 
by the reader. The writer who adopts the simplified spelling has to be 
continually thinking of his spelling until new habits are formed, and 
his reader has to experience a succession of shocks that are at first 
irritating. The amount of friction in the complex thought machine 
is decidedly increased until it becomes worn smooth by such friction. 
Each advocate of improvement must use his own judgment as to the 
extent of his violation of conventional forms, but such violation must 
be perpetrated by him just so far as may be consistent with sane 
recognition of the conservation of energy. 




vol. lxx. — 18. 



274 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



FKITZ SCHAUDi™ 1 

By Professor THOS. H. MONTGOMERY, Jr., Ph.D. 

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS 

TpEOM the medical and biological world a genius has been taken. 
-*- and it is not saying too much to conclude that the only man 
of the past half century who may be considered in any way the equal 
of Louis Pasteur is Fritz Schaudinn. Yet when Schaudinn died, on 
the twenty-second of last June, he was in only his thirty-fifth year. 
Truly those whom the gods love die young! The work of his life is 
so recent that only the perspective of time can throw it out in its true 
proportions; but rarely has it fallen to the lot of any man to receive 
the quick recognition of value that has been so generally conceded to 
Schaudinn. 

With the exception of a few contributions on the worm Ankylos- 
tomum, on bear animalcules (Tardigrades) , and on bacteria, the atten- 
tion of Schaudinn was devoted entirely to the Protozoa; Dujardin, 
Max Schultze and Schaudinn, each of these marked a great advance 
in our knowledge of the unicellular animals, and of them Schaudinn 
covered the most difficult field. For his study of the Protozoa was an 
intensive examination of their complex life cycles, undertaken first to 
elucidate their genetic relationships and the meaning of alternation of 
generations, and second to break a road to the checking of human dis- 
eases. His discoveries are of fundamental importance for the under- 
standing of the genesis of the cell, particularly of the phenomena of 
conjugation and the reduction of the chromosomes, for our ideas of 
the genetic relations of the various Protozoan groups, and for the 
prevention of disease. It may be said that before Schaudinn entered 
the field almost all human infectious diseases were supposed to be due 
to bacteria, with the exception of the malaria parasite and certain few 
agents doubtfully associated with unimportant disorders. To Schau- 
dinn more than to any other belongs the credit of the demonstration 
that the Protozoa are fully as efficient as the bacteria in transmitting 
and engendering disease. Indeed, the greatest advance in medicine of 
the past twenty years may be said to be just this conclusion. Schau- 
dinn's particular merit lies in his insistence that the first step in com- 
bating any disease must be to understand the whole life cycle of the 
disease germ; and his genius, in his admirable and unequaled success 

1 Contributions from the Zoological Laboratory of the University of Texas, 
No. 83. 



FRITZ SCHAUDINN 275 

in solving each complex life cycle that he undertook to investigate. 
All his discoveries were comprehensive and thorough, they settled the 
particular questions examined, and this though he selected problems 
the most difficult of solution. By all his training he was a zoologist, 
and he is a splendid instance of the fact that comprehensive results in 
medicine are possible only to him who has a broad biological founda- 
tion on which to build. The study of human disease is to be success- 
ful not so much by close study of human parasites only, but rather 
by investigation, through broad comparisons, of the animal and plant 
groups to which the parasites belong; in that method only is surety 
given. 

For two years it was my privilege to work in the same room with 
Schaudinn as a fellow student, in the Zoologisches Institut at Berlin; 
accordingly, this little account of his life is as much the message of 
a friend as of an admirer. Of the group of students at that labora- 
tory from 1891 on, Schaudinn was the leader from his great and 
rare natural modesty, as well as from his forceful character and power 
of tremendous application. With regard to the latter quality I well 
recall how on one occasion, while with exquisite ardor he was follow- 
ing the stages of a life cycle, he spent more than thirty uninterrupted 
hours at his microscope. With all his humor, his hearty laugh and 
his popularity, he rarely spent an evening at the Weinstube or the Bier- 
halle, but for his recreation took long walks into the countryside, 
showing a delight in every phase of nature. Perhaps the chief secret 
of his success was his almost intuitive ability to select the important 
phenomenon from the less important, and to focus his mind on that; 
he never allowed himself to become bewildered by the multitude of the 
facts, truly a rare gift. 

Immediately after his death there appeared an appreciative account 
of his life by his old teacher, Professor Karl Heider, of Innsbruck; 
then a second by Professor Gary N. Calkins, of Columbia University, 
this printed in Science; and within the past two months more detailed 
biographical accounts by Professor Kichard Hertwig, of Munich, and 
F. W. Winter, of Frankfurt-am-Main. The last named is the most 
complete yet given, and was published in the Zoologischer Anzeiger, 
November 13; it gives a careful analysis of his various papers and 
labors, together with a complete bibliography. 

Fritz Eichard Schaudinn was born in Boseningken in East Prussia 
in 1871. In the laboratory of F. E. Schulze in Berlin he commenced 
his investigations on Protozoa in 1892. His first years there were 
devoted to the investigation of free-living species, both freshwater and 
marine, and the rhizopods in particular. Before he made his doctor- 
ate he settled a long controversy by demonstrating that the two forms 
of many-chambered foraminifera, those with a large and those with a 



276 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

small embryonal chamber, represent different stages in the same life 
history. He elucidated the life cycle of Calcituba, and discovered in 
it a simple and probably very primitive mode of cell division. The 
division of the Amoeba with two nuclei (Amoeba binucleata) was de- 
scribed, and from Schaudinn dates the concept that the original cell 
possessed two nuclei. Then he described the copulation of the Helio- 
zoan Actinoplirys, which was the first account of reduction of the chro- 
matin and caryogamy of any protozoan, compared the processes here 
with the similar ones in the many-celled animals, and showed that the 
central granule acted as a centrosome. Conjugation of the spores was 
also discovered in Hyalopus, a f oraminif eran ; and his discovery of the 
paranucleus of Paramceba has come to greatly modify the older ideas 
on the genesis of the cell nucleus. These discoveries rapidly suc- 
ceeded each other, marked a great advance over all preceding studies 
on the reproduction phenomena of the protozoa, and stimulated others 
to the same field of study. 

Next he turned himself to the analysis of the life cycles of para- 
sitic protozoa, a study of particular difficulty because all such parasites 
live in successive different hosts. Most men have failed in these stud- 
ies because they lacked the fertility and resource of Schaudinn in de- 
vising experiments. Monumental was his study on the complete life 
cycle of a coccidian (a sporozoan), a parasite of a centipede (Litho- 
bius), made in conjunction with Siedlecki. This gave for the first 
time the complete history of any sporozoan, and was soon followed 
by an equally conclusive and thorough research, extending through 
five years, of the life cycle of Trichosphcerium. These are classics in 
the study of the protozoa, and they showed the method by which results 
are to be reached in the search of the parasites of human disorders. 
In each of these life cycles there follow upon each other a long line 
of generations, with great dissimilarity of the successive generations; 
Schaudinn drove home the conclusion that the unit of study should 
be the whole life cycle, and his results rendered it probable that many 
forms of protozoa that had hitherto been regarded as different species 
might be merely stages of one and the same life cycle. This was one 
of his major contributions that guided him in his later work and has 
caused an entire change in progressive medicine. 

Schaudinn then left Berlin to become director of the laboratory 
at Eovigno, on the Adriatic Sea, whither he was called primarily 
to contribute to the study of the malaria organisms. There he first 
worked out the life history of Cyclospora, the agent of enteritis of the 
mole, carrying out his method to approach human disorders from a 
preliminary broad comparative basis. Then he made a valuable contri- 
bution to the history of Plasmodium vivax, the cause of tertian fever 
in man; and was the first to see the sporozoites entering living human 



FRITZ 8CHAUDINN 277 

blood corpuscles. The sanitary recommendations then recommended 
by him against malaria were adopted by the Austrian government. 
Further, he made observations on the biology of the mosquito that 
carries these protozoa. Then he worked out a blood parasite of the 
lizard, and discovered a Rhizopod, Leydenia, in the ascites fluid of man. 

His next step was to study the parasites of the human colon, 
which had been called Amaiba coli. Schaudinn discovered that this 
really is two distinct species, one of which is harmless, while the other, 
Entamoeba histolytica, he proved to be the cause of human bloody 
dysentery. 

His following contributions were devoted to the study of blood 
parasites, so-called hgemosphoridia. His initial memoir upon this 
subject was one of his most important. He studied the three blood- 
parasites of the owl, known as Proteosoma, Halteridium and Hcema- 
mozba, which he proved to be stages of one and the same life cycle 
and to be flagellates and not sporozoa. Here also may be mentioned 
his conclusion that the organisms of human malaria are also flagel- 
lates. In connection with this study he worked out the biology of 
the mosquito (Culex pipiens) that infects the owl, and its mode of 
transference of the parasites. In his investigation of Spirochete 
ziemanni he made the important discovery that the two main forms 
of blood flagellates, Spirochcete and Trypanosoma, are not bacteria, but 
flagellates, a discovery that has wonderfully clarified our knowledge 
of blood diseases. 

In 1904 Schaudinn left Rovigno to enter the National Sanitary 
Commission at Berlin. He was fully recognized as the foremost in- 
vestigator of Protozoan diseases, and though he had never studied 
medicine he became its consultant authority in Germany. Unwisely 
the German government for a time placed hindrances to his free 
initiative, and forced him to undertake certain work outside of his 
proper field; he had no choice but to accept these conditions, for he 
was a poor man with a family to support. Principles of patriotism 
decided him to decline a call to the professorship of protozoology 
recently started by the British government for the investigation of 
tropical diseases. At this time Schaudinn corroborated the interest- 
ing discovery of Looss, that the round worm Ankylostomum infects 
the mammalian host not through the mouth, but by entering the 
skin then being transported by the blood current to the lung, and 
thence to the intestine. 

Perhaps what is the most important medical discovery made by 
him was that of 1905, when he found in the secretions of syphilitic 
growths a parasitic flagellate that he named Spirochcete pallida. Long 
had physicians searched for the cause of this disease, one of the most 
widespread and terrible of human disorders, and it was the crown- 
ing act of Schaudinn's life to have found it. 



278 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Early in 1906 Schaudinn was appointed zoologist to the Institute 
for Ship and Tropical Diseases at Hamburg, a position that he gladly 
accepted, because it gave him perfect freedom for his studies and for 
the first time in his career an income that freed him from financial 
cares. But within a few months he fell a victim to intestinal abscesses, 
from which he had suffered for years and which he may have con- 
tracted through infection during his studies on the protozoa of the 
human intestine. 

Most of Schaudinn's memoirs were briefly and concisely written, 
for he disliked to take time from his observations to put it on writ- 
ing. As Richard Hertwig says of him, 'he was not a man of the 
writing table.' With his death, accordingly, as in the case of other 
great men, many of his important results have been lost to science. 
His descriptions are remarkable for their lucidity, as his experiments 
for their simplicity. 

He was essentially a phylogenist, an investigator of racial history 
by the analysis of individual life cycles, and his achievements furnish the 
best possible evidence of the fruitfulness of phylogenetic study. He 
never called in to his aid hypothetical units, but each and every step 
in his conclusions was based directly upon empirical evidence; he was 
not a theorist, but a demonstrator. Cytology has to thank him for 
tracing the genesis of the centrosome, of chromosome reduction and 
conjugation; biology in general for demonstrating the necessity of con- 
sidering the life cycle as a unit, and for having so greatly extended 
our knowledge of life cycles; medicine recognizes his lasting influence 
in the study of malaria, as the discoverer of the disease germs of 
dysentery and syphilis, and for pointing out the methods to follow in 
the study of protozoan disorders. 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 279 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 

By M. H. POINCARE 

MEMBER OF THE INSTITUTE OF FRANCE 

Chapter VI. Astronomy. 

/"^ OVEENMENTS and parliaments must find that astronomy is 
^-* one of the sciences which cost most dear: the least instrument 
costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, the least observatory costs 
millions; each eclipse carries with it supplementary appropriations. 
And all that for stars which are so far away, which are complete 
strangers to our electoral contests, and in all probability will never 
take any part in them. It must be that our politicians have retained 
a remnant of idealism, a vague instinct for what is grand; truly, I 
think they have been calumniated; they should be encouraged and 
shown that this instinct does not deceive them, that they are not 
dupes of that idealism. 

We might indeed speak to them of navigation, of which no one 
can underestimate the importance, and which has need of astronomy. 
But this would be to take the question by its smaller side. 

Astronomy is useful because it raises us above ourselves; it is 
useful because it is grand; that is what we should say. It shows 
us how small is man's body, how great his mind, since his intelli- 
gence can embrace the whole of this dazzling immensity, where his 
body is only an obscure point, and enjoy its silent harmony. Thus 
we attain the consciousness of our power, and this is something which 
can not cost too dear, since this consciousness makes us mightier. 

But what I should wish before all to show is, to what point as- 
tronomy has facilitated the work of the other sciences, more directly 
useful, since it has given us a soul capable of comprehending nature. 

Think how diminished humanity would be if, under heavens con- 
stantly overclouded, as Jupiter's must be, it had forever remained 
ignorant of the stars. Do you think that in such a world we should 
be what we are? I know well that under this somber vault we should 
have been deprived of the light of the sun, necessary to organisms 
like those which inhabit the earth. But if you please, we shall as- 
sume that these clouds are phosphorescent and emit a soft and con- 
stant light. Since we are making hypotheses, another will cost no 
more. Well ! I repeat my question : Do you think that in such a 
world we should be what we are ? 



2 8o POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

The stars send us not only that visible and gross light which 
strikes our bodily eyes, but from them also comes to us a light far 
more subtle, which illuminates our minds and whose effects I shall 
try to show you. You know what man was on the earth some thou- 
sands of years ago, and what he is to-day. Isolated amidst a nature 
where everything was a mystery to him, terrified at each unexpected 
manifestation of incomprehensible forces, he was incapable of see- 
ing in the conduct of the universe anything but caprice; he at- 
tributed all phenomena to the action of a multitude of little genii, 
fantastic and exacting, and to act on the world he sought to con- 
ciliate them by means analogous to those employed to gain the good 
graces of a minister or a deputy. Even his failures did not enlighten 
him, any more than to-day a beggar refused is discouraged to the point 
of ceasing to beg. 

To-day we no longer beg of nature; we command her, because we 
have discovered certain of her secrets and shall discover others each 
day. We command her in the name of laws she can not challenge 
because they are hers; these laws we do not madly ask her to change, 
we are the first to submit to them. Nature can only be governed 
by obeying her. 

What a change must our souls have undergone to pass from the 
one state to the other! Does any one believe that, without the lessons 
of the stars, under the heavens perpetually overclouded that I have just 
supposed, they would have changed so quickly? Would the meta- 
morphosis have been possible, or at least would it not have been 
much slower? 

And first of all, astronomy it is which taught that there are laws. 
The Chaldeans, who were the first to observe the heavens with some 
attention, saw that this multitude of luminous points is not a con- 
fused crowd wandering at random, but rather a disciplined army. 
Doubtless the rules of this discipline escaped them, but the har- 
monious spectacle of the starry night sufficed to give them the im- 
pression of regularity, and that was in itself already a great thing. 
Besides, these rules were discerned by Hipparchus, Ptolemy, Coper- 
nicus, Kepler, one after another, and finally, it is needless to recall 
that Newton it was who enunciated the oldest, the most precise, the 
most simple, the most general of all natural laws. 

And then, taught by this example, we have seen our little ter- 
restrial world better and, under the apparent disorder, there also 
we have found again the harmony that the study of the heavens 
had revealed to us. It also is regular, it also obeys immutable laws, 
but they are more complicated, in apparent conflict one with an- 
other, and an eye untrained by other sights would have seen there 
only chaos and the reign of chance or caprice. If we had not known 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 281 

the stars, some bold spirits might perhaps have sought to foresee 
physical phenomena; but their failures would have been frequent, 
and they would have excited only the derision of the vulgar; do we 
not see, that even in our day the meteorologists sometimes deceive 
themselves, and that certain persons are inclined to laugh at them. 

How often would the physicist, disheartened by so many checks, 
have fallen into discouragement, if they had not had, to sustain their 
confidence, the brilliant example of the success of the astronomers ! 
This success showed them that nature obeys laws; it only remained 
to know what laws; for that they only needed patience, and they 
had the right to demand that the sceptics should give them credit. 

This is not all: astronomy has not only taught us that there are 
laws, but that from these laws there is no escape, that with them there 
is no possible compromise. How much time should we have needed 
to comprehend that fact, if we had known only the terrestrial world, 
where each elemental force would always seem to us in conflict with 
other forces? Astronomy has taught us that the laws are infinitely 
precise, and that if those we enunciate are approximative, it is be- 
cause we do not know them well. Aristotle, the most scientific mind 
of antiquity, still accorded a part to accident, to chance, and seemed 
to think that the laws of nature, at least here below, determine only 
the large features of phenomena. How much has the ever-increasing 
precision of astronomical predictions contributed to correct such an 
error, which would have rendered nature unintelligible! 

But are these laws not local, varying in different places, like those 
which men make; does not that which is truth in one corner of the 
universe, on our globe for instance, or in our little solar system, be- 
come error a little farther away? And then could it not be asked 
whether laws depending on space do not also depend upon time, 
whether they are not simple habitudes, transitory, therefore, and 
ephemeral? Again it is astronomy that answers this question. Con- 
sider the double stars; all describe conies; thus, as far as the tele- 
scope carries, it does not reach the limits of the domain which obeys 
Newton's law. 

Even the simplicity of this law is a lesson for us; how many com- 
plicated phenomena are contained in the two lines of its enunciation; 
persons who do not understand celestial mechanics may form some 
idea of it at least from the size of the treatises devoted to this science; 
and then it may be hoped that the complication of physical phenomena 
likewise hides from us some simple cause still unknown. 

It is therefore astronomy which has shown us what are the general 
characteristics of natural laws; but among these characteristics there 
is one, the most subtile and the most important of all, which I shall 
ask leave to stress. 



282 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

How was the order of the universe understood by the ancients; 
for instance, by Pythagoras, Plato or Aristotle? It was either an 
immutable type fixed once for all, or an ideal to which the world 
sought to approach. Kepler himself still thought thus when, for 
instance, he sought whether the distances of the planets from the sun 
had not some relation to the five regular polyhedrons. This idea 
contained nothing absurd, but it was sterile, since nature is not so 
made. Newton has shown us that a law is only a necessary relation 
between the present state of the world and its immediately subsequent 
state. All the other laws since discovered are nothing else; they are 
in sum, differential equations; but it is astronomy which furnished 
the first model for them, without which we should doubtless long 
have erred. 

Astronomy has also taught us to set at naught appearances. The 
day Copernicus proved that what was thought the most stable was 
in motion, that what was thought moving was fixed, he showed us 
how deceptive could be the infantile reasonings which spring directly 
from the immediate data of our senses. True, his ideas did not 
easily triumph, but since this triumph there is no longer a prejudice 
so inveterate that we can not shake it off. How can we estimate the 
value of the new weapon thus won? 

The ancients thought everything was made for man, and this il- 
lusion must be very tenacious, since it must ever be combated. Yet 
it is necessary to divest oneself of it ; or else one will be only an eternal 
myope, incapable of seeing the truth. To comprehend nature one 
must be able to get out of self, so to speak, and to contemplate her 
from many different points of view; otherwise we never shall know 
more than one side. Now, to get out of self is what he who refers 
everything to himself can not do. Who delivered us from this illusion ? 
It was those who showed us that the earth is only one of the smallest 
planets of the solar system, and that the solar system itself is only 
an imperceptible point in the infinite spaces of the stellar universe. 

At the same time astronomy taught us not to be afraid of big 
numbers. This was needful, not only for knowing the heavens, but to 
know the earth itself; and was not sO easy as it seems to us to-day. 
Let us try to go back and picture to ourselves what a Greek would 
have thought if told that red light vibrates four hundred millions 
of millions of times per second. Without any doubt, such an assertion 
would have appeared to him pure madness, and he never would have 
lowered himself to test it. To-day an hypothesis will no longer 
appear absurd to us because it obliges us to imagine objects much 
larger or smaller than those our senses are capable of showing us, 
and we no longer comprehend those scruples which arrested our pre- 
decessors and prevented them from discovering certain truths simply 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 283 

because they were afraid of them. But why? It is because we have 
seen the heavens enlarging and enlarging without cease; because we 
know that the sun is 150 millions of kilometers from the earth and 
that the distances of the nearest stars are hundreds of thousands of 
times greater yet. Habituated to the contemplation of the infinitely 
great, we have become apt to comprehend the infinitely small. Thanks 
to the education it has received, our imagination, like the eagle's eye 
that the sun does not dazzle, can look truth in the face. 

Was I wrong in saying that it is astronomy which has made us a 
soul capable of comprehending nature; that under heavens always 
overcast and starless, the earth itself would have been for us eternally 
unintelligible; that we should there have seen only caprice and dis- 
order; and that, not knowing the world, we should never have been 
able to subdue it? What science could have been more useful? And 
in thus speaking I put myself at the point of view of those who only 
value practical applications. Certainly, this point of view is not mine ; 
as for me, on the contrary, if I admire the conquests of industry, it 
is above all because if they free us from material cares, they will one 
day give to all the leisure to contemplate nature. I do not say: 
Science is useful, because it teaches us to construct machines. I say: 
Machines are useful, because in working for us, they will some day 
leave us more time to make science. But finally it is worth remarking 
that between the two points of view there is no antagonism, and that 
man having pursued a disinterested aim, all else has been added unto 
him. 

Auguste Comte has said somewhere, that it would be idle to seek 
to know the composition of the sun, since this knowledge would be 
of no use to sociology. How could he be so short-sighted? Have we 
not just seen that it is by astronomy that, to speak his language, 
humanity has passed from the theological to the positive state? He 
found an explanation for that because it had happened. But how has 
he not understood that what remained to do was not less considerable 
and would be not less profitable ? Physical astronomy, which he seems 
to condemn, has already begun to bear fruit, and it will give us much 
more, for it only dates from yesterday. 

First was discovered the nature of the sun, what the founder of 
positivism wished to deny us, and there bodies were found which exist 
on the earth, but had here remained undiscovered ; for example, helium, 
that gas almost as light as hydrogen. That already contradicted 
Comte. But to the spectroscope we owe a lesson precious in a quite 
different way; in the most distant stars, it shows us the same sub- 
stances. It might have been asked whether the terrestrial elements 
were not due to some chance which had brought together more tenuous 
atoms to construct of them the more complex edifice that the chemists 



284 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

call atoms; whether, in other regions of the universe, other fortuitous 
meetings had not engendered edifices entirely different. Now we know 
that this is not so, that the laws of our chemistry are the general laws 
of nature, and that they owe nothing to the chance which caused 
us to be born on the earth. 

But, it will be said, astronomy has given to the other sciences 
all it can give them, and now that the heavens have procured for 
us the instruments which enable us to study terrestrial nature, they 
could without danger veil themselves forever. After what we have 
just said, is there still need to answer this objection? One could have 
reasoned the same in Ptolemy's time; then also men thought they 
knew everything, and they still had almost everything to learn. 

The stars are majestic laboratories, gigantic crucibles, such as no 
chemist could dream. There reign temperatures impossible for us 
to realize. Their only defect is being a little far away; but the tele- 
scope will soon bring them near to us, and then we shall see how 
matter acts there. What good fortune for the physicist and the 
chemist ! 

Matter will there exhibit itself to us under a thousand different 
states, from those rarefied gases which seem to form the nebula and 
which are luminous with I know not what glimmering of mysterious 
origin, even to the incandescent stars and to the planets so near and 
yet so different. 

Perchance even, the stars will some day teach us something about 
life; that seems an insensate dream and I do not at all see how it can 
be realized; but, a hundred years ago, would not the chemistry of the 
stars have also appeared a mad dream? 

But limiting our views to horizons less distant, there still will re- 
main to us promises less contingent and yet sufficiently seductive. If 
the past has given us much, we may rest assured that the future 
will give us still more. 

After all, it could scarce be believed how useful belief in astrology 
has been to humanity. If Kepler and Tycho Brahe made a living, 
it was because they sold to naive kings predictions founded on the 
conjunctions of the stars. If these princes had not been so credulous, 
we should perhaps continue to believe that nature obeys caprice, and 
we should still wallow in ignorance. 



THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE 



285 



THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE 



THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION 
AND ITS SECRETARY 

The regents of the Smithsonian In- 
stitution at their annual meeting on 
January 23 elected Dr. Charles D. Wal- 
cott to succeed the late Samuel Pier- 
pont Langley as secretary of the insti- 
tution. Born in New York State in 
1850, Dr. Walcott became assistant in 
the Geological Survey of the state in 
1876, passing to the U. S. Geological 
Survey in 1879. In 1894 he succeeded 
Major Powell as director of the na- 
tional survey, which under his admin- 
istration has enjoyed an unprecedented 
development, the annual appropriation 
by congress for its work being in the 
neighborhood of $1,500,000. The survey 
has been criticized for bureaucratic 
methods, for trespassing on fields occu- 
pied by other geologists and for turn- 
ing out a vast amount of routine work 
rather than discoveries of the highest 
order. To this it is replied that the 
efficiency of a government bureau, espe- 
cially one that is rapidly developing, 
requires adequate business manage- 
ment, that the spirit of cooperation 
and research in the survey is excellent, 
that when a new institution develops 
on a large scale a certain amount of 
temporary conflict of interests is in- 
evitable, that the standing of geologists 
in the survey is as high as of those in 
the universities, that indeed in no 
single science in any institution in the 
world are there so many men engaged 
in scientific research. 

When the Reclamation Service was 
established by the congress, its exten- 
sive work in irrigation was placed un- 
der the Geological Survey, and it has 
been carried forward with an efficiency 
and economy comparing most favorably 
with the conditions on the Isthmian 



Canal. When the service was well or- 
ganized it was separated from the sur- 
vey. On the organization of the Car- 
negie Institution, Dr. Walcott became 
secretary, and was responsible for a 
large share of the administrative work. 
He, however, withdrew from this posi- 
tion after Dr. Woodward's election to 
the presidency. He was also for a 
short time acting-assistant secretary of 
the Smithsonian Institution in charge 
of the National Museum, and has been 
since 1892 honorary curator of paleon- 
tology in the museum. 

Dr. Walcott was vice-president of the 
American Association for the Advance- 
ment of Science in 1903, has been presi- 
dent of the Washington Academy of 
Sciences since 1899 and became a mem- 
ber of the National Academy of Sci- 
ences in 1896. He has received the doc- 
torate of laws from Hamilton, Chicago, 
Johns Hopkins and Pennsylvania. He 
has become eminent for his researches 
on the stratigraphy and paleontology 
of the lower Paleozoic formation and 
the sedimentation, stratigraphy and 
contained faunas of the Cambrian 
formation. 

The acceptance of the secretaryship 
of the Smithsonian Institution involves 
unusual responsibilities. It is gener- 
ally regarded as the highest scientific 
office in the country; indeed it is pos- 
sible that a too obvious halo has been 
painted about the head of the secre- 
tary. The organization of the insti- 
tution is such as to give to him 
great, perhaps undue, powers. The 
regents are the vice-president and the 
chief justice of the United States, six 
congressmen and six citizens. They 
have, as a rule, met for an hour or two 
once a year to listen to the report of 
the secretary; they have neither time 
nor competence to direct the policy of 



286 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



the institution. The conditions are 
somewhat similar in many of our uni- 
versities, but there the faculties have 
a certain moral control, however lim- 
ited their statutory rights. So far as 
appears in the annual reports, there is 
not a single scientific man, except the 
secretary, on the Smithsonian founda- 
tion, and the scientific men employed 
in the dependencies are likely to receive 
the salaries and treatment of depart- 
mental clerks. Thus the late secretary 
could write in his annual report in re- 
gard to the Bureau of American Eth- 
nology : ' The actual conduct of these 
investigations has been continued by 
the secretary in the hands of Major 
Powell,' and he could appoint a suc- 
cessor to Major Powell and alter the 
title from director to chief without the 
advice of the regents or of any body 
of scientific experts. 

It is well known that a large part of 
the scientific work under the govern- 
ment had its origin in the Smithsonian 
Institution, but Henry, the first secre- 
tary, was always ready to relinquish 
work that could be done elsewhere, 
leaving to the Smithsonian what it 
only could do. The opposite policy has 
been followed in recent years, and the 
National Museum and other agencies 
supported by the government have not 
only been kept under the Smithsonian, 
but have been subordinated to the per- 
sonal control of the secretary. The 
propriety of using Smithson's unique 
bequest for the support of govern- 
mental institutions is doubtful, and the 
result has not been favorable. The 
National Museum, for example, whether 
regarded as an educational or research 
institution, is insignificant when com- 
pared with the Museums of Natural 
History and Fine Arts in New York 
City, or the similar institutions of 
foreign nations. 

It may be unwise to detach the vari- 
ous governmental agencies from the 
control of the Smithsonian regents at 
present, or so long as we have no de- 
partment of science and education. Di- 
rectors should, however, be found for 



the National Museum and other agen- 
cies, and scientific men of high stand- 
ing should be attracted to these institu- 
tions, who should be permitted to guide 
their policies, subject only to the ulti- 
mate control of the regents, which 
should naturally be exercised only on 
rare occasions and under competent ad- 
vice. We should like to see the Smith- 
sonian Institution itself devoted to the 
broad purposes of its foundation ' the 
increase and diffusion of knowledge 
among men,' and under existing condi- 
tions this could perhaps best be accom- 
plished by some form of cooperation 
and affiliation between it and the scien- 
tific men and scholars of the country 
and the world. 

THE REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT 
OF THE CARNEGIE INSTI- 
TUTION 

When the Carnegie Institution was 
established five years ago, many Amer- 
ican men of science hoped that it would 
fill the position that the Smithsonian 
Institution had relinquished, and be- 
come a center for the higher scientific 
and intellectual life of the country. 
But such vague visions are difficult to 
realize in concrete performance. It is 
disappointing that the Carnegie Insti- 
tution has been able to do nothing be- 
yond making grants to certain scientific 
men and founding certain research in- 
stitutions along well-established lines, 
but it may none the less be difficult to 
say what else it could do to better 
advantage. Money spent on scientific 
research is almost surely well spent. 
If the undertakings of the Carnegie 
Institution are what in commercial life 
would be called three-per-cent. invest- 
ments, in science they bring a material 
return manyfold as large, and the ideal 
results are not to be measured. 

It is somewhat surprising, therefore, 
to read in the report of President Wood- 
ward that " after careful examination 
of the facts at hand I think it safe to 
state that no direct return may be 
anticipated from more than half of the 



THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE 



287 



small grants made up to the present . 
time for minor researches and for re- 
search assistantships." There are given 
in the report the names of forty indi- 
viduals and institutions which have 
received minor grants and of six re- 
search assistants, and they appear to 
be of about the same standing and 
largely the same individuals as those 
who have received grants in previous 
years. It is not easy to decide which 
grants the president refers to in his 
report, as it might be supposed that 
every one of them would yield direct 
returns. The grantees include many 
of our most eminent men of science, 
such as Professors S. Newcomb, W. W. 
Campbell, L. Boss, A. A. Noyes, T. W. 
Richards, T. C. Chamberlin, R. S. Chit- 
tenden, E. L. Mark and E. B. Wilson, 
and it is inconceivable that money en- 
trusted to them would not be spent to 
advantage. It is, however, possible 
that equally good results would have 
been obtained if twenty of the grants 
had been distributed by lot among 
members of the National Academy of 
Sciences and the other twenty among 
the fellows of the American Associa- 
tion, and this would have obviated the 
suspicion of favoritism and indirect in- 
fluence which is almost inevitable when 
such largesses depend mainly on the 
decision of a single individual. 

The president recommends that in 
general minor grants shall be given 
only to eminent investigators who shall 
for the time become research associates 
and advisers of the institution. That 
the institution needs a board of scien- 
tific men is obvious. Its trustees, as 
is usual in America, consist mainly of 
prominent men of affairs, most of 
whom are too busy to give attention to 
the control of the institution, even if 
they were competent to do so. The sec- 
retary, originally an eminent resident 
man of science, is now a business man 
of New York City. The by-laws speak 
of special advisers and advisory com- 
mittees, but if such exist they are not 
mentioned in the annual report. The 
only possible reference in the by-laws 



to the scientific men who should be the 
institution is a clause to the effect 
that the president ' shall have power 
to remove and appoint subordinate em- 
ployees.' If the trustees could fulfil 
their proper function in the care of the 
property, and the president could be a 
constitutional executive officer, and 
there were a legislative board consist- 
ing of scientific men, elected by the 
scientific bodies of the country, a great 
advance in organization would be ef- 
fected. Perhaps we may hope that the 
advisers nominated by the president 
may ultimately become a board of this 
character. 

The larger projects of the institu- 
tion last year were: botanical research, 
D. T. MacDougal, director; economics 
and sociology, Carroll D. Wright, di- 
rector; experimental evolution, Charles 
B. Davenport, director; historical re- 
search, J. F. Jameson, director; horti- 
culture, Luther Burbank; marine biol- 
ogy, A. G. Mayer, director; meridian 
astrometry, Lewis Boss, director; nu- 
trition, F. G. Benedict, R. H. Chitten- 
den, L. B. Mendel and T. B. Osborne; 
solar physics, George E. Hale, director; 
terrestrial magnetism, L. A. Bauer, 
director; work in geophysics, F. D. 
Adams, G. F. Becker, A. L. Day. For 
these departments the sum of $552,000 
was appropriated, the largest grants 
being: Solar Observatory, $150,000; 
geophysical research, $115,500, and 
terrestrial magnetism, $54,000. Ap- 
pended to the president's report are 
extremely interesting accounts of the 
research work accomplished under the 
large projects and minor grants. Illus- 
trations showing the site of the solar 
observatory and the laboratories for 
experimental and marine biology are 
here reproduced. 

MR. ROCKEFELLER'S GIFT TO 

THE GENERAL EDUCATION 

BOARD 

Mb. John D. Rockefeller has an- 
nounced his intention to give, not later 
than April 1, securities valued at about 



288 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



$32,000,000, to the General Education 
Board, which he had previously en- 
dowed with $11,000,000. The letter an- 
nouncing this gift, read at a meeting 
of the board on February 7, is as fol- 
lows: 

New York, Feb. 6, 1907. 
General Education Board, 

54 William Street, 
New York City. 

Gentlemen: My father authorizes me 
to say that on or before April 1, 1907, 
he will give to the General Education 
Board income-bearing securities, the 
present market value of which is about 
thirty-two million dollars ($32,000,- 
000), one third to be added to the per- 
manent endowment of the board, two 
thirds to be applied to such specific 
objects within the corporate purposes 
of the board as either he or I may, 
from time to time, direct; any remain- 
der not so designated at the death of 
the survivor to be added also to the 
permanent endowment of the board. 
Very truly, 

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. 

The board has acknowledged this 
great gift in the following terms: 

The General Education Board ac- 
knowledges the receipt of the communi- 
cation of February 6, 1907, from Mr. 
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a member of 
this body, announcing your decision to 
give to the board for the purpose of its 
organization, securities of the current 
value of $32,000,000. The General Ed- 
ucation Board accepts this gift with a 
deep sense of gratitude to you and of 
responsibility to society. This sum, 
added to the $11,000,000 which you 
have formerly given to this board, 
makes the General Education Board 
the guardian and administrator of a 
total trust fund of $43,000,000. 

This is the largest sum ever given 
by a man in the history of the race 
for any social or philanthropic purpose. 
The board congratulates you upon the 
high and wise impulse which has 
moved you to this deed, and desires to 
thank you, in behalf of all educational 
interests whose developments it will 
advance, in behalf of our country whose 
civilization for all time it should be 
made to strengthen and elevate, and in 
behalf of mankind everywhere, in whose 
interests it has been given and for 
whose use it is dedicated. 



The administration of this fund en- 
tails upon the General Education Board 
the most far-reaching responsibilities 
ever placed upon any educational or- 
ganization in the world. As members 
of the board, we accept this responsi- 
bility, conscious alike of its difficulties 
and its opportunities. 

We will use our best wisdom to 
transmute your gift into intellect and 
moral power, accounting it a supreme 
privilege to dedicate whatever strength 
we have to its just use in the service 
of men. 

The work of the General Education 
Board has in the main been confined 
to gifts to certain denominational col- 
leges on condition that they collect 
three times the amount appropriated, 
but the present gift is not limited to 
higher education. It is said that agri- 
cultural education in the south will be 
especially assisted. It will be observed 
that Mr. Rockefeller and his son re- 
serve the right to dispose of two thirds 
of the capital in accordance with the 
purposes of the board. This is a wise 
provision, as the money would probably 
be of greatest use if distributed to as- 
sist existing institutions without other 
conditions than their deserts, or to 
establish new institutions. A central- 
ized control of higher education, how- 
ever indirect, has dangers as well as 
advantages. 

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS 

M. Chauveau, of the section of agri- 
culture, has been elected president of 
the Paris Academy of Sciences to suc- 
ceed M. Poincare 1 , of the section of 
mathematics. — Professor Ernest W. 
Brown, who this year goes from Haver- 
ford College to Yale University, has 
been awarded the Adams prize of Cam- 
bridge University, for his work on the 
motion of the moon.— Professor William 
James, of Harvard University, our most 
eminent student of philosophy and psy- 
chology, celebrated his sixty-fifth birth- 
day on January 11, and retired on Jan- 
uary 22 from the active work of his 
chair. 



VOL. LXX. — 18. 



THE 

POPULAR SCIENCE 

MONTHLY 



APRIL, 1907 



PIONEERS OF SCIENCE IN AMERICA 1 
Benjamin Franklin 

By Dr. S. WEIR MITCHELL 

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 

TTTE are here, as I understand, to unveil memorial busts of Amer- 
icans distinguished in science. I, Sir, am honored by the 
privilege of speaking of Benjamin Franklin. This man, the father 
of American Science, was possessed of mental gifts unequaled in his 
day. Even yet he holds the highest place in the intellectual peerage 
of a land where, in his time, men had few interests which were not 
material or political. But no man entirely escapes the despotic in- 
fluences of his period. Thus in every life there are unfulfilled possi- 
bilities, and so it was that, paraphrasing Goldsmith, we may say that 
Franklin to country gave up what was meant for mankind, when 
with deep regret he resigned, in middle life, all hope of whole-souled 
devotion to science. When most productive his scientific fertility was 
the more remarkable because of the other forms of dutiful activity 
which in a life that knew no rest left small leisure for those hours 
of quiet thought without which science is unfruitful of result. 

1 There were unveiled at the American Museum of Natural History, New 
York City, on December 29, ten marble busts of American men of science, 
designed by Mr. William Couper and presented by Mr. Morris K. Jesup, the 
president of the museum. The occasion was arranged in honor of the American 
Association for the Advancement of Science and the affiliated societies meeting 
at the time in New York City. The exercises took place in the presence of a 
distinguished audience that crowded the large lecture hall of the museum. 
By the courtesy of the director of the museum, Dr. Hermon C. Bumpus, we are 
able to print here the addresses given in connection with the unveiling and 
photographs of the busts. — Editor. 



292 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

There is a Hall of Fame not built by the hand of man. It is the 
memory of mankind. In many of its galleries this man's bust could 
with justice be placed. Diplomacy would claim him as of her greatest. 
For him would be the laurel of administrative wisdom. Among states- 
men he would be welcomed; and who of the masters of English prose 
shall in that hall of fame be more secure of grateful remembrance, 
and who more certain of a place among men of science. 

As an investigator of nature and of nature's laws he is materially 
represented here by right of eminent achievement. Let us as men 
of science feel proud that Franklin's fame as a philosopher did much 
to win for Franklin the diplomatist such useful consideration and re- 
spect as led to final success. 

Many of those you honor to-day had moral and temperamental pe- 
culiarities which more or less influenced their lives and are common 
to men of science. Most of them cared little about making money; 
still less about keeping it. Franklin, on the contrary, dreaded poverty; 
was careful in business, made fruitful investments and died rich; 
nevertheless, like the typical man of science, he refused to make money 
out of his discoveries, or by patents to protect his inventions. In him 
the man of science, unselfish, free from money greed, seemed to exist 
apart from all those other men who went to the making of the many- 
minded Franklin. In another way he was singularly unlike such 
typical men of science as Henry, in physics, and Leidy, in natural 
history. When Franklin made a discovery his next thought was as 
to what practical use it could be put. If he made some novel ob- 
servation of nature, he asked himself at once how he could make it 
serve his fellow men. The great reapers of the harvest of truth com- 
monly leave the inventor to make practical use of their unregarded 
thought. 

Leaving the wide land to do justice to Franklin, the model citizen 
and great diplomatist, here we crown him with the assured verdict of 
posterity Franklin, the man of pure science. Here we welcome him 
to this goodly fellowship of those who communed with nature and 
read the secrets of the Almighty Maker. 



Alexander von Humboldt 

By Baron SPECK VON STERNBURG 

GERMAN EMBASSY, WASHINGTON, D. C. 

In this immortal man, whose bust you have gathered to unveil, 
the world reveres its greatest master since the days of Aristotle. His 
genius covered all that man ever thought, did and observed in nature. 
There is no branch of human knowledge into which his mind did not 



294 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

penetrate. His Cosmos, that marvelous monument of meditation and 
research, is a new book of Genesis in which the universe mirrors itself 
in all its vastness and minuteness ' from the nebulae of the stars ' — 
to use his own words — ' to the geographical distribution of mosses on 
granite rocks.' 

By his wonderful talent of research, by his almost superhuman 
power to divine eternal laws, this great interpreter of science taught 
mankind how to read in the book of nature, how to understand its 
great mysteries. The series of sciences, originated by this mighty 
genius is, as well as the other manifold branches of science developed 
by him, sufficiently known to all of you. 

, In all his investigations his ultimate aim was to bring theory 
into practical relation with life. Thus he not only elevated the stand- 
ard of culture of the whole world by many steps, but he also became 
from a practical point of view the benefactor of mankind in many 
branches of common life, as trade, commerce, navigation. 

He taught us how to conceive the beauty and sublimity of nature 
in its every form and motion. His studies are not a matter merely of 
memory and of dry meditation, to him nature was rather the inex- 
haustible source of pure and deep enjoyment, by which the heart is 
purified and ennobled and men are brought nearer to perfection. 

It is not necessary to give you a more detailed picture of his life. 
All this is so well known and so dear to the whole learned world of 
America; for never has a foreign scholar been more honored in this 
country than Alexander von Humboldt. 

We need only recall the celebrations which took place in his memory, 
both at the time of his death and on occasion of the centennial an- 
niversary of his birth, when throughout all America solemn offerings 
of gratitude and devotion went out to the shadow of the great dead. 

Humboldt devoted five years of his life to scientific investigations 
in South and Central America, in Mexico and in Cuba. He ascer- 
tained the course of the greatest rivers, he climbed the summits of 
mountains, where never man's foot had trod before, he studied vege- 
tation, astronomical and meteorological phenomena, gathered speci- 
mens of all natural products and a great deal of historical information 
about the early population of these parts of the New World. It was he 
that drew the first accurate maps of these regions. With almost pro- 
phetic forecast of the needs of generations to come, he examined the 
Isthmus of Panama and considered carefully the possibilities of estab- 
lishing an interoceanic waterway. 

It is well known how great an interest Alexander von Humboldt 
has taken in the United States. Indeed, so strongly was he attracted 
by the problems of the new-born republic that, putting aside even his 
habitual scientific occupations, he devoted himself entirely for some 



PIONEERS OF SCIENCE IN AMERICA 295 

months to the study of the American people and the institutions of 
this country. 

Finally, the great scientist, he whom people call the scientific 
discoverer of America, returned to his country, carrying with him a 
vast store of intellectual and material treasures of science. So abun- 
dant were the results reaped from his expeditions that he needed the 
cooperation of the best scholars of his time to compile that great mass 
of material, and to place it into proper shape and form. 

Throughout his long and industrious life, Alexander von Hum- 
boldt has ever retained his love and devotion for the country where 
his great field of labor lay, and for its people to whom he always 
felt so closely connected by his love for freedom in thoughts and for 
liberty. It is a well-known fact that in his later days of all foreign 
people who ever knocked at his door no one was more heartily wel- 
comed than the American citizen. 

The benefits of his investigations in America returned to that 
country in the course of time. No wonder that her people recognize 
him as their benefactor. Another great man, whose monument will 
be unveiled to-day, and most deservedly placed beside the one of Alex- 
ander von Humboldt, Louis Agassiz, says of him : " To what degree 
we Americans are indebted to von Humboldt, no one knows who is 
not familiar with the history of learning and education in this country. 
All the fundamental facts of popular education in physical science 
beyond the merest elementary instruction, we owe to him," and at 
another place : " Let us rejoice together that Humboldt's name will 
permanently be connected with education and learning in this country, 
for the prospects and institutions of which he felt so deep and so affec- 
tionate a sympathy." 

Of all the tributes that have been paid to Alexander von Humboldt 
the latest and most fitting has now found its expression in this build- 
ing. For here, in this magnificent Museum of Natural History, the 
ideal aim of all his theories is realized most perfectly : to cultivate 
the love of nature, and thus to ennoble man and beautify his life. 

Gentlemen, permit me to thank you for the honor you have clone 
me to-day, and to express the hope that this splendid building may 
become a shrine of pilgrimage for scientists and students also of the 
Old World, helping to bind the nations closer together. 



PIONEERS OF SCIENCE IN AMERICA 297 

John Torre y 

Dr. N. L. BRITTON 

DIRECTOR OF THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN 

As a pioneer of American botany, John Torrey naturally finds a 
place among the men whose works we gladly celebrate to-day, in this 
grand institution, developed in the city where he was born, where he 
resided the greater part of his life, and where he died. To-day's 
recognition of Torrey as a master of botanical science is, therefore, 
peculiarly appropriate in New York, where he is already commem- 
orated by the society which bears his name, by the professorship in 
Columbia University named in his honor, and by ids botanical collec- 
tions and library deposited by Columbia University at the New York 
Botanical Garden. 

Dr. Torrey was born on August 15, 1796, and died March 10, 1873, 
nearly thirty-four years ago ; the pleasure of his personal acquaintance 
is, therefore, known to but few persons now living; we have abundant 
evidence, however, that he was honored and beloved to a degree ex- 
perienced by but few; righteousness was instinctive in him, aid to 
others was his pleasure, he was tolerant and progressive, and his genial 
presence was a delight to his associates. 

He was educated for the profession of medicine, graduating from 
the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1818, but soon abandoned 
it and in 1824 became professor of chemistry at West Point; after 
ihree years service there, he was elected professor of chemistry and 
botany in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, a position which 
he held for nearly thirty years, during part of this period lecturing on 
chemistry also at Princeton ; he was also United States assayer in New 
York from 185-1 until his death. 

Dr. Torrey's attention was directed to botany during his youthful 
association with Professor Amos Eaton, and his interest in that science 
subsequently stimulated during his medical studies by the lectures of 
Professor David Hosack. It early became his favorite study, and, not- 
withstanding his noteworthy services to chemistry, his fame rests on 
his botanical researches, although they were accomplished durng his 
hours of rest and recreation, and largely during the night. 

His botanical publications began in 1819 with ' A Catalogue of 
Plants Growing Spontaneously within Thirty Miles of the City of 
Xew York,' published by the Lyceum of Natural History, now the 
New York Academy of Sciences, and were completed the year after 
his death in the ' Phanerogamia of Pacific North America,' in Vol. 17 
of the Eeport of the United States Exploring Expedition. His con- 
tributions to botany include over forty titles, many of them volumes 
requiring years of patient study; they throw a flood of light on the 



PIONEERS OF SCIENCE IN AMERICA 299 

plants of North America, and form a grand contribution to knowledge. 
His collections, on which these researches arc based, were annotated 
and arranged by him with scrupulous care and exactness, and are 
treasured as among the most important of all scientific material in 
America. 



Joseph Henry 

By Dr. ROBERT S. WOODWARD 

THE CARNEGIE INSTITUTION 

This time, one hundred years ago, Joseph Henry, whose name and 
fame we honor to-day, was a lad seven years of age. He was born at 
Albany, New York, of Scotch parentage, his grandparents on both 
sides having come from Scotland in the same ship to the Colony of 
New York, in 1775. 

Doubtless he had himself in mind when in his mature years he 
affirmed that " The future character of a child, and that of a man 
also, is in most cases formed probably before the age of seven years." 
At any rate, he found himself early, for at the age of sixteen he had 
determined to devote his life to the acquisition of knowledge. Thus 
be became, in turn, student, teacher, civil engineer in the service of his 
native state, professor of mathematics and natural philosophy in the 
Albany Academy, professor of natural philosophy in the College of 
New Jersey — now Princeton University — and a pioneer investigator 
and discoverer of the first order before he was thirty-three years of age. 

His inventions and discoveries in electromagnetism especially art 
of prime importance. They include the inventions of the electro- 
magnetic telegraph and the electromagnetic engine, and the discovery 
of many of the recondite facts and principles of electromagnetic science. 

From the age of thirty-three, when he took up the work of his pro- 
fessorship at Princeton, till the age of forty-seven, when he was called 
to the post of secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, he pursued his 
original investigations with untiring zeal and with consummate experi- 
mental skill and philosophic insight. It was during this period that 
Henry and Faraday laid the foundations for the recent wonderful 
developments of electromagnetic science. The breadth as well as the 
depth of Henry's learning is indicated by the fact that he found time 
during this busy period for excursions and for lectures in the fields 
of architecture, astronomy, chemistry, geology, meteorology and min- 
eralogy, in addition to his lectures and researches in physics. 

He was a man rich in experience and ripe in knowledge when, in 
1846, he assumed the administative duties implied by the bequest of 
James Smithson. " To found at Washington, under the name of the 



300 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Smithsonian Institution an Establishment for the increase and diffusion 
of knowledge among men." Henceforth, for thirty-two years, until 
his death in 1878, he devoted his life to the public service, not alone 
of our own country, but of the entire civilized world. In this work 
be manifested the same creative capacity that had distinguished his 
earlier career in the domain of natural philosophy. He became an 
organizer and a leader of men. To his wise foresight we owe not only 
the beneficent achievements of the Smithsonian Institution itself, but 
also, in large degree, the correspondingly beneficent achievements of 
the Naval Observatory, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Weather 
Bureau, the Geological Survey, the Bureau of Fisheries and the 
Bureau of American Ethnology; for to Henry, more than to any other 
man, must be attributed the rise and the growth in America of the 
present public appreciation of the scientific work carried on by gov- 
ernmental aid. 

We may lament, with John Tyndall, that so brilliant an investi- 
gator and discoverer as Henry should have been sacrificed to become 
so able an administrator. And American devotees to mathematico- 
physical science may be pardoned for entertaining an elegaic regret 
that Henry as a pioneer in the fields of electromagnetism did not have 
the aid of a penetratng mathematical genius, as Faraday had his 
Maxwell. But posterity, just in its estimtes towards all the world, 
will recognize in Henry, as we have recognized in our earlier hero, 
Benjamin Franklin, a many-sided man — a profound student of nature; 
a teacher whose moral and intellectual presence pointed straight to 
the goal of truth; an inventor who dedicated his inventions immedi- 
ately to the public good; a discoverer of the permanent law T s which 
reign in the sphinx-like realm of physical phenomena; an adminis- 
trator and organizer of large enterprises which have yielded a rich 
fruitage for the enlightenment and for the melioration of mankind; 
a leader of men devoted to the progress of science; a patriot, friend 
and counsellor of Abraham Lincoln in the darker clays of the republic 
— in short, an exemplar for his race, a man whose purity and nobility 
are here fitly symbolized in enduring marble for our instruction and 
guidance and for the instruction and the guidance of our successors in 
the centuries to come. 



PIONEERS OF SCIENCE IN AMERICA 301 

John James Audubon 

By Dr. C. HART MEHRIAM 

U. S. BIOLOGICAL SURVEY 

Of the naturalists of America no one stands out in more picturesque 
relief than Audubon, and no name is clearer than his to the hearts of 
the American people. 

Born at an opportune time, Audubon undertook and accomplished 
one of the most gigantic tasks that has ever fallen to the lot of one man 
to perform. Although for years diverted from the path nature in- 
tended him to follow, and tortured by half-hearted attempts at a com- 
mercial life, against which his restive spirit rebelled, he finally, by the 
force of his own will, broke loose from his bondage and devoted the 
remainder of his days to the grand work that has made his memory 
immortal. 

His principal contributions to science are his magnificent series 
of illustrated volumes on the birds and quadrupeds of North America, 
his Synopsis of Birds and the Journals of his expeditions to Labrador 
and to the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. 

The preparation and publication of his elephant folio atlases of 
life-size colored plates of birds, begun in 1827 and completed in 1838, 
with the accompanying volumes of text (the ' Ornithological Biog- 
raphy,' 1831-1839), was a colossal task. But no sooner was it accom- 
plished than an equally sumptuous work on the mammals was under- 
taken, and, with the assistance of Bachman, likewise carried to a 
successful termination. For more than three quarters of a century 
the splendid paintings which adorn these works, and which for spirit 
and vigor are still unsurpassed, have been the admiration of the world. 

In addition to his more pretentious works, Audubon wrote a num- 
ber of minor articles and papers and left a series of Journals, since 
published by his granddaughter, Miss Maria B. Audubon. The 
Journals are full to overflowing with observations of value to the 
naturalist, and, along with the entertaining : Episodes,' throw a flood 
of light on contemporary customs and events — and incidentally are by 
no means to be lost sight of by the historian. 

In searching for material for his books, Audubon traveled thou- 
sands of miles afoot in various parts of the eastern states, from Maine 
to Louisiana; he also visited Texas, Florida and Canada, crossed the 
ocean a number of times, and conducted expeditions to far-away Labra- 
dor and the then remote Missouri and Yellowstone Bivers. When we 
remember the limited facilities for travel in his clay — the scarcity of 
railroads, steamboats and other conveniences — we are better prepared 
to appreciate the zeal, determination and energy necessary to accom- 
plish his self-imposed task. 



PIONEERS OF SCIENCE IN AMERICA 303 

That it was possible for one man to do so much excellent field work, 
to write so many meritorious volumes, and to paint such a multitude 
of remarkable pictures must be attributed in no small part to his rare 
physical strength — for do not intellectual and physical vigor usually 
go hand in hand and beget power of achievement? Audubon was noted 
for these qualities. As a worker he was rapid, absorbed and ardent; 
he began at daylight and labored continuously till night, averaging 
fourteen hours a day, and, it is said, allowed only four hours for sleep. 

In American ornithology, in which he holds so illustrious a place, 
it was not his privilege to be in the strict sense a pioneer, for before 
him were Vieillot, Wilson and Bonaparte; and contemporaneous with 
him were Richardson, Xuttall, Maximilian, Prince of Wied, and a 
score of lesser and younger lights — some of whom were destined to 
shine in the near future. 

Audubon was no closet naturalist — the technicalities of the pro- 
fession he left to other — but as a field naturalist he was at his best and 
had few equals. He was a born woodsman, a lover of wild nature in 
the fullest sense, a keen observer, an accurate recorder, and, in addi- 
tion, possessed the rare gift of instilling into his writings the freshness 
of nature and the vivacity and enthusiasm of his own personality. 

His influence was not confined to devotees of the natural sciences, 
for in his writings and paintings, and in his personal contact with 
men of affairs, both in this country and abroad, he exhaled the fresh- 
ness, the vigor, the spirit of freedom and progress of America — and 
who shall attempt to measure the value of this influence to our young 
republic ? 

Audubon's preeminence is due, not alone to his skill as a painter 
of birds and mammals, nor to the magnitude of his contributions to 
science, but also to the charm and genius of his personality — a per- 
sonality that profoundly impressed his contemporaries, and which, 
by means of his biographies and journals, it is still our privilege to 
enjoy. His was a type now rarely met — combining the grace and cul- 
ture of the Frenchman with the candor, patience, and earnestness of 
purpose of the American. There was about him a certain poetic 
picturesqueness and a rare charm of manner that drew people to him 
and enlisted them in his work. His friend, Dr. Bachman, of Charles- 
ton, tells us that it was considered a privilege to give to Audubon 
what no one else could buy. His personal qualities and characteristics 
appear in some of his minor papers— notably the essays entitled 
' Episodes.' These serve to reveal, perhaps better than his more formal 
writings, the keenness of his insight, the kindness of his heart, the 
poetry of his nature, the power of his imagination, and the vigor and 
versatility of his intellect. 



PIONEERS OF SCIENCE IN AMERICA 305 

Louis Agassiz 1 

By the Rev. EDWARD EVERETT HALE 
BOSTON, MASS. 

I think that the first time when I ever saw Agassiz was at one of 
his own lectures early in his American life. This was a description 
of his ascent of the Jungfrau. I think it was wholly extempore and 
though he was new in his knowledge of English, it was idiomatic and 
thoroughly intelligible. At the end, as he described the last climb, 
hand and foot, by which as it seems, men come to the little triangular 
plane, only three feet across, which makes the summit, he quickened 
our enthusiasm by describing the physical struggle by which he lifted 
himself so that he could stand on this little three-foot table: He said, 
' one by one we stood there, and looked down into Swisserland.' He 
bowed and retired. 

I know I said at once that Mr. Lowell, of our Lowell Institute, 
who had * imported Agassiz' (that is James Lowell's phrase), might 
have said before the audience left the hall, ' You will see, ladies and 
gentlemen, that we are able to present to you the finest specimen yet 
discovered of the genus homo of the species intelligens.' 

And looking back half a century, on those very first years of his 
life in America, I think it is fair to say that wherever he went he 
awakened that sort of personal enthusiasm. And he went everywhere. 
He was made a professor in Harvard College in 1848. But he never 
thought of confining himself to any conventional theory of a college 
professor's work. He was not in the least afraid of making science 
popular. He flung himself into any or every enterprise by which he 
could quicken the life of the common schools, and in forty different 
ways he created a new class of men and women. Naturalists showed 
themselves on the right hand and on the left. I have seen him address 
an audience of five hundred people, not twenty of whom when they 
entered the hall thought they had anything to do with the study of 
nature. And when after his address they left the hall, all of the five 
hundred were determined to keep their eyes open and to study nature 
as she is. From that year 1848, you may trace a steady advance in 
nature study in the New England schools. 

That is to say, that his distinction is that of an educator quite as 
much as it is that of a naturalist. In 1888, Lowell said, in his quarter- 
millenial address at Harvard College, that the college trained no great 
educator, ' for we imported Agassiz.' A great educator he truly was. 

When Agassiz was appointed professor he was forty-one years old. 
In my first personal conversation with him he told me a story, which 

1 A letter read by Professor A. E. Verrill, of Yale University. Interesting 
remarks were also made by Dr. Charles D. Walcott, Washington, D. C. 
vol. lxx. — 19. 



3 o6 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

may not have got into print, of his own physical strength. He spoke 
as if it were then an old experience to him. Whether he were twenty- 
five or thirty-five when it happened, it shows how admirable was his 
training and his physical constitution. He had been with a party of 
friends somewhere in eastern Switzerland. They were traveling in 
their carriages; he was on foot. They parted with the understanding 
that they were to meet in the Tyrol, at the city of Innsbruck. Ac- 
cordingly the next morning, Agassiz rose early and started through 
the mountains by this valley and that, as the compass might direct 
or his previous knowledge of the region. He did not mean to stop 
for study and they did not. But he had no special plan as to which 
hamlet or cottage should cover him at night. Before sundown he came 
in sight of a larger town than he expected to see, in the distance, and 
calling a mountaineer, he asked him what that place was. The man 
said it was Innsbuck. Agassiz said that that could not be so. The 
man replied with a jeer that he had lived there twenty years, and had 
always been told that that was the name of the place, but he supposed 
Agassiz knew better than he did. Accordingly Agassiz determined 
that he would sleep there and did so. The distance was somewhere 
near seventy miles. I know it gave me the impression of a walk 
through the valley passes at the rate of four miles an hour, maintained 
for sixteen or seventeen hours. 

In later life Agassiz made to us some prophecies in which we may 
trace his enjoyment of the finest physical health and strength. Health 
and strength indeed belonged to everything which he said and did. 

Among other things he said, twenty-five years ago, that the last 
years of our century — the twentieth — would see a population of a 
hundred million of people in the valleys of the upper Amazon. I like 
to keep in memory this brave prophecy because I am sure it will come 
true. 



James Dwight Dana 

By President ARTHUR T. HADLEY 

YALE UNIVERSITY 

It was my privilege to know James Dwight Dana intimately during 
my early years. To boyhood's imagination his figure typified the man 
of science; his life personified the spirit of scientific discovery. Wider 
acquaintance with the world has not in any way dimmed the bright- 
ness of that early impression. 

The services of the geologist are to-day recognized by every one, 
and sought by all who can afford them. If he would make a voyage 
of exploration and discovery, the resources of the world of finance are 
placed at his disposal. No such aids were given two generations ago. 



3 o8 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

In Dana's journeyings he had to surmount hardship and peril, and 
to meet the coldness of those who knew not the value of the quest 
which he pursued. He and his contemporaries were like the knights 
errant of chivalry, devoting their lives to an ideal. They were men 
of faith, who combined the spirit of the missionary and the inspiration 
of the poet with the clear vision of the observer. 

The largeness of Dana's work was commensurate with the large- 
ness of his inspiration. It fell to his lot not only to fill out many 
pages of the record of the building of the world, as written in the 
fossil life of America, but to show in important ways the methods 
by which that building was accomplished. His creative brain never 
rested content with mere description of facts. He had the more dis- 
tinctively modern impulse to reconstruct the process by which those 
facts were brought to pass. From his observations of coral islands 
in the various stages of their growth he deduced a geologic principle 
of world-wide importance. It is this characteristic which makes the 
great modern German school of geologists headed by Suess look to 
Dana as their precursor, more than to any other man of his generation. 

He was not content with the work of discovery alone. The teaching 
spirit was strong within him. The pioneers in science needed editors 
and expositors who should make their results known. In each of these 
capacities Dana's achievements were phenomenal. Of his work as 
an editor, he has left the files of The American Journal of Science 
as a monument. Of his work as an expositor those who have heard 
his lectures and attended his class-room exercises can speak with un- 
bounded enthusiasm. He was one of the rare men who by presence 
and voice and manner could bring the truths and ideals of science 
home even to those pupils with whom scientific study could never 
be more than an incident in their lives. 

But above all his works and above all his qualities stands the figure 
of Dana himself — more than an explorer, more than a discoverer, 
more than a teacher; his countenance, as it were, illuminated by a 
touch of the light of a new day for which the world was being prepared. 

His life was gentle; and the elements 

So mixed in him that Nature might stand forth 

And say to all the world, ' This was a man.' 



Spencer Fullerton Baird 

By Dr. HUGH M. SMITH 
BUREAU OF FISHERIES 

The life, the character, the work of Spencer Fullerton Baird 
entitle him to recognition in any assemblage and on any occasion 
where honor is to be paid to those who have been their county's 
benefactors through illustrious achievements in science. 



3 io POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Developing a taste for scientific pursuits at a very early age, and 
confirmed in those pursuits through the influence of friendships with 
Agassiz, Audubon, Dana and other leading scientists of the time, Baird 
was selected as assistant secretary of the Smithsonian Institution when 
only twenty-seven years old, and there entered on a career devoted to 
the promotion, diffusion, and application of scientific knowledge among 
men, and marked by dignity, sound judgment, fidelity to duty, versa- 
tility and general usefulness. 

In the many phases of his intellectual development he resembled 
Franklin and Cope; in the multiplicity of his public duties and in 
the diversity of the scientific accomplishments in which he attained 
eminence he had few equals; in founding, organizing and simulta- 
neously directing a number of great national scientific enterprises 
he was unique among those whose memory is here extolled to-day. 

To render an adequate account of the branches of scientific endeavor 
in which he achieved prominence, benefited his own and future gene- 
rations and added to his country's renown, one would need to be an 
ornithologist, a mammalologist, an ichthyologist, a herpetologist, an 
invertebrate zoologist, an anthropologist, a botanist, a geologist, a 
paleontologist, a deep-sea explorer, a fishery expert, a fish-culturist, an 
active administrator of scientific institutions, and an adviser of the 
federal government in scientific affairs; for Baird was all these and 
more. 

We freely acknowledge to-day the debt that science owed Baird 
alive and now owes his memory, especially for his inestimable services 
as assistant secretary and later as secretary of the Smithsonian Insti- 
tution, as director of the National Museum, and as head of the Com- 
mission of Fish and Fisheries. Among all the establishments with 
which he was connected, this last was preeminently and peculiarly 
his own. It was conceived by him and created for him, and it would 
almost appear that he was created for it, for certainly no other person 
of his day and generation was so admirably fitted for the task of 
organizing this bureau and of executing the duties that grew out of its 
functions as successively enlarged by congress. Insisting on scientific 
investigations and knowledge as the essential basis for all current and 
prospective utilitarian work, he drew around him a corps of eminent 
biologists and physicists; he established laboratories; he laid plans for 
the systematic study of our interior and coastal waters ; he had vessels 
built that were especially designed and equipped for exploration of 
the seas. While he thus inaugurated operations which have been of 
lasting benefit to the fisheries, at the same time he became the foremost 
promoter and exponent of marine research, and the knowledge we to- 
day possess of oceanic biology and physics is directly or indirectly 
due to Baird more than to any other person. The rapid development 



PIONEERS OF SCIENCE IN AMERICA 311 

of piscicultural science under his guidance gave to the United States 
the foremost place among the nations in maintaining and increasing 
the aquatic food supply by artificial means; and it was no perfunctory 
tribute when, in 1880, at the International Fishery Exhibition held in 
Berlin, Emperor William awarded the grand prize to Baird as ' the 
first fish-culturist in the world.' 

The spirit of Baird influences the Bureau of Fisheries to-day, as 
it does all other institutions with which he was associated; and since 
his death, nearly twenty years ago, the good that has been accomplished 
in the interest of fish-culture and the fishing industry, and in the con- 
duct and encouragement of scientific work, has been in consequence of 
the foundations he laid, the policy he enunciated and the example 
he set. 

But conspicuous as were his services to science and mankind; 
faithful and unselfish as was his devotion to the executive responsi- 
bilities imposed on him; beautiful as was his personal character, I 
conceive that his most enduring fame may result from the enthusiasm 
with which he inspired others and the encouragement and opportunity 
that he afforded to all earnest workers. The recipients of his aid can 
be numbered by hundreds, and many of them are to-day his worthy 
successors in various fields; and their places in turn will gradually 
be taken by a vast number of men and women who will perpetuate 
his memory by efficiently and reverently continuing his work. 

This evidence of the donor's beneficence is a noble and impressive 
memorial of one who merited his country's profoundest gratitude; 
but the bust signifies something more, for it is a recognition of that 
zeal, fidelity, self-sacrifice, intelligence and strength in the American 
character so preeminently typified by Spencer Fullerton Baird. 



Joseph Leidy 

By Professor WILLIAM KEITH BROOKS 

JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY 

Joseph Leidy was born in Philadelphia, there he passed his three 
score years and ten, and there he died. For forty-five years he was 
an officer of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Science, and a 
professor in the University of Pennsylvania for forty years. His 
character was simple and earnest, and he had such a modest opinion 
of his talents and of his work that the honors and rewards that began 
to come to him in his younger days, from learned societies in all parts 
of the world, and continued to come for the rest of his life were an 
unfailing surprise to him. 

His knowledge of anatomy, and zoology, and botany, and min- 



PIONEERS OF SCIENCE IN AMERICA 313 

eralogy was extensive and accurate and at his ready command. Farm- 
ers and horticulturists came to him and learned how to check the 
ravages of destructive insects; physicians sent rare or new human 
parasites and were told their nature and habits and the best means 
of prevention; jewelers brought rare gems and learned their value. 
His comments, at the academy, on the recent additions to its collec- 
tions, gave a most impressive illustration of his ready command of his 
vast store of natural knowledge. 

Leidy wrote no books, in the popular meaning of the word. He 
undertook the solution of no fundamental problem of biology. There 
are few among his six hundred publications that would attract un- 
scientific readers, or afford a paragraph for a newspaper. They are 
simple and lucid and to the point. Most of them are short, although 
he wrote several more exhaustive monographs. They cover a wide 
field, but most of them fall into a few groups. Many deal with the 
parasites of mammals — among them, one in which his discovery of 
Trichena in pork is recorded. 

Two hundred and sixteen, or about a third of his publications, 
are on the extinct vertebrates of North America. His first paper on 
paleontology was published in 1846, and his last in 1888, as the sub- 
ject occupied him for more than forty years. He laid, with the hand 
of master, the foundation for the paleontology of the reptiles and 
mammals of North America, and we know what a wonderful and in- 
structive and world-renowned superstructure his successors have reared 
upon his foundation. It was this work that established his fame 
and brought him honors and rewards. They who hold it to be his 
best title to be enrolled among the pioneers of science in America 
are in the right in so far as the founder of a great department of 
knowledge is most deserving of commemoration; but I do not believe 
it was his most characteristic work. 

I can mention but one of the results of his study of American 
fossils. He showed, in 1846, that this continent is the ancestral home 
of the horse, and he sketched, soon after, the outline of the story of 
its evolution which later workers have made so familiar. 

More than half his papers are on a subject which seems to me 
to contain the lesson of his life. Like Gilbert White, he was a home- 
naturalist, devoted to the study of the natural objects that he found 
within walking-distance of his home, but he penetrated far deeper 
into the secrets of the living world about him than White did, find- 
ing new wonders in the simplest living being. In the intestine of the 
cockroach and in that of the white ant, he found wonderful forests of 
microscopic plants that were new to science, inhabited by minute 
animals of many new and strange forms. His beautifully illustrated 
memoir on A Flora and Fauna within Living Animals is one of the 



3 i4 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

most remarkable works in the whole field of biological literature. 
Another memoir gives the results of his study of the anatomy of 
snails and slugs. The inhabitants of the streams and ponds in the 
vicinity of his home furnished an unfailing supply of material for re- 
search and discovery, and many of his publications are on aquatic 
animals. He finally became so much interested in the fresh-water 
rhizopods that he abandoned all other scientific work in order to devote 
all his attention to these animals. His results were published in the 
memoir on The Fresh-water Rhizopods of North America. This is 
the most widely known of his works. It is, and must long be, the 
standard and classic upon its subject. I have no time to dwell upon 
his work as the naturalist of the home — his best and most character- 
istic work. Its lesson to later generations of naturalists seems to 
me to be that one may be useful to his fellowmen, and enjoy the 
keen pleasure of discovery, and come to honor and distinction, with- 
out visiting strange countries in search of rarities, without biological 
stations and marine laboratories, without the latest technical methods, 
without grants of money, and, above all, without undertaking to solve 
the riddles of the universe or resolving biology into physics and 
chemistry. 

If one have the simple responsive mind of a child or of Leidy, 
he may, like Leidy, ' find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, 
sermons in stones, and good in everything.' 



Edward Drinker Cope 

By Professor HENRY FAIRFIELD OSBORN 

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AND THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 

In the beautiful marble portrait of Edward Drinker Cope, 
modeled by Mr. Couper and presented by President Jesup, you see 
the man of large brain, of keen eye, and of strong resolve, the ideal 
combination for a life of science, the man who scorns obstacles, who 
while battling with the present looks above and beyond. The portrait 
stands in its niche as a tribute to a great leader and founder of 
American paleontology, as an inspiration to young Americans. In 
unison with the other portraits its forcible words are : ' Go thou and do 
likewise.' 

Cope, a Philadelphian, born July 28, 1840, passed away at the 
early age of fifty-seven. Favored by heredity, through distinguished 
ancestry of Pennsylvania quakers, who bequeathed intellectual keen- 
ness and a constructive spirit. As a boy of eight entering a life of 
travel and observation, and with rare precocity giving promise of the 
finest qualities of his manhood. Of incessant activity of mind and 



316 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

body, tireless as an explorer, early discovering for himself that the 
greatest pleasure and stimulus of life is to penetrate the unknown in 
nature. In personal character fearless, independent, venturesome, 
militant, far less of a quaker in disposition than his Teutonic fellow 
citizen Leidy. Of enormous productiveness as an editor, conducting 
the American Naturalist for nineteen years, as a writer leaving a shelf- 
ful of twenty octavo and three great quarto volumes of original re- 
search. A man of fortitude, bearing material reverses with good 
cheer, because he lived in the world of ideas and to the very last 
moment of his life drew constant refreshment from the mysterious 
regions of the unexplored. 

In every one of the five great lines of research into which he ven- 
tured, he reached the mountain peaks where exploration and discovery, 
guided by imagination and happy inspiration, gave his work a leader- 
ship. His studies among fishes alone would give him a chief rank 
among zoologists, yet among amphibians and reptiles there never has 
been a naturalist who has published so many papers as Professor Cope, 
while from 1868 until 1897, the year of his death, he was a tireless 
student and explorer of the mammals, living and extinct. Among 
animals of all these classes his generalizations marked new epochs. 
While far from infallible, his ideas acted as fertilizers on the minds 
of other men. As a paleontologist, enjoying with Leidy and Marsh 
that Arcadian period when all the wonders of our great west were new, 
from his elevation of knowledge which enabled him to survey the whole 
field, with keen eye he swooped down like an eagle upon the most 
important point. 

In breadth, depth and range we see in Cope the very antithesis 
of the modern specialist, the last exponent of the race of the Buffon, 
Cuvier, Owen and Huxley type. Of ability, memory and courage 
sufficient to grasp the whole field of natural history. As comparative 
anatomist he ranks with Cuvier and Owen; as paleontologist with 
Owen, Marsh and Leidy — the other two founders of American paleon- 
tology; as natural philosopher less logical but more constructive than 
Huxley. America will produce men of as great, perhaps greater, 
genius, but Cope represents a type which is now extinct and never will 
be seen again. 



DEVELOPMENT IN TELEPHONE SERVICE 



3 X 7 



NOTES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF TELEPHONE SERVICE 



By FRED DE LAND 
PITTSBURGH, PA 



VIII. Subscribers' Pioneer Telephone Equipment 

TN the previous chapter it was shown how the primitive telephone 
-*- set supplied to subscribers by the New Haven and other pioneer 
exchanges consisted only of a mahogany or rubber magneto hand tele- 
phone hung on a steel hook screwed into 'wall or board, and how the 
use of the circuit-breaking push button was the approved method of 
calling central. No vibrating bell was supplied to the subscriber. 
When central called, attention was attracted with the aid of a buzzing, 
squealing noise, that was sent through the telephone by manually and 
rapidly operating a large induction coil attached to the switchboard. 
That was the method in vogue early in 1878, and, as already stated, 
in the beginning it was the custom to use this one-hand telephone as 




Fig. 22. 



transmitter and receiver, dexterously moving it from lips to ear and 
from ear to lips, as the conversation progressed. From time to time 
instructions were issued to subscribers on the proper use of the tele- 
phone. One of the first read : ' Do not talk with your ear, or listen 
with your mouth.' Where a subscriber was willing to pay for 'two 
telephones,' he enjoyed the unusual convenience of following the now 
common method of holding the receiver to his ear while talking into 
the transmitter, as shown in Fig. 22. Not many duplicate telephones 



318 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

were installed, but occasionally an editor would consider his time of 
sufficient value to justify the increased outlay of $10 a year for a 
( second telephone.' 

Following the now famous experiments with his telephones at the 
Centennial, Alexander Graham Bell had displaced the parchment or 
membrane diaphragm with one of iron, and brought out the wooden 
hand telephone to take the place of the oblong box, so inconvenient 
for general use. Then, in December, 1877, a few long rubber-encased 
hand telephones similar in form to the present receiver were sent out 
to several exchanges as an experiment. On July 1, 1878, Mr. Coy 
had 230 mahogany hand telephones, about 100 rubber hand telephones 




Fig. 23. 

and a dozen box telephones. But this rubber hand telephone did not 
go into general use until the summer of 1878, and, in some exchanges, 
never really supplanted the original wooden hand telephone, the earlier 
magneto sets doing so. 

Meanwhile an improved form of the oblong box telephone, shown 
in a previous chapter, was brought out in June, 1877, but met with 
no favor, as it also required a table or a shelf for its support in a 
horizontal position. In August, 1877, came the first of the oblong 
box telephones remodeled so as to be fastened to the wall in a vertical 
position (Fig. 23). The only telephone circuits in those days were 
private and social lines, the first commercial exchange opening in 
January, 1878, and users of projected private lines did not take kindly 
to this innovation, preferring to have the more convenient hand tele- 
phone which could so easily be shifted from lips to ear. And this was 
the prevailing sentiment even after exchanges were in operation. Thus 
this upright form of box telephone did not come into general use 
until the winter of 1878-79, when it served only as part of a sub- 
scriber's set. 

In the autumn of 1878, the parent Bell company brought out the 
first of the many forms of magneto bell telephone sets. This early 
type of wall set (Fig. 24) had the rubber-encased hand telephone 
hung from a hook projecting through the door on the front of the 
box. The attaching of two hand telephones to the magneto to serve 



DEVELOPMENT IN TELEPHONE SERVICE 



3 l 9 



as transmitter and receiver (Fig. 25) naturally followed. The intro- 
duction of this magneto ringing device displaced the circuit-breaking 
push-button method of calling central, and the single-stroke bell as 
part of the subscriber's equipment. It also enabled the local com- 



CROUNO 



LINE 





Fig. 24. 



Fig. 25. 



panies to secure more equitable rates by increasing the rental where 
the new equipment was installed. 

In the pioneer days when local rates ranged from $18 to $36 per 
year, nearly all the subscribers were on party-lines, and few lines 
carried less than twelve telephones. ' How many boxes are there on 
your line ? ' was a question often asked by subscribers in the days 
when it was not unusual to have twelve, or even twenty or more sub- 
scribers on a grounded iron-wire circuit in towns. In May, 1878, it 
was stated that one circuit had ' fifty-six instruments, and conversa- 
tion is carried on with perfect ease.' Another town boasted of forty- 
three telephones on one line. Naturally there was more or less eaves- 
dropping, with the usual entailed bitterness. Thus the parent com- 



3 2 ° 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



pany found it advisable to sanction the addition of a secrecy-switch 
to the magneto bells supplied by the different manufacturers. One 
form of this lock-out switch is shown on the front of the magneto 
box in Fig. 25. Kemoving the receiver or hand telephone from the 
box caused the latter to fly up, just as the hook on the side of the 
modern telephone does. If the subscriber desired to converse with 
some one on the line to the right of his telephone, he would turn the 
switch to the right, thus shutting out all subscribers to the left, but 
still leaving it possible for eavesdroppers on the right to listen in. 
If the switch was turned to the left, the subscribers to the right were 
cut out. To operate the bell it was only necessary to turn the crank 
at a moderate speed and at the same time to press the button under- 
neath the box the number of times that corresponded with the number 
of rings required to call the given station. 

The next change came in the adoption of the first of the vertical 
boxes as a transmitter in connection with the magneto-call bell, and 
the use of the hand telephone as a receiver. In method of operation 
both instruments were identical, either could be used as transmitter 
or receiver, and both were fastened to the wall side by side (Fig. 26). 
The approved method of calling then in vogue is also shown (Fig. 27). 
The circular of instructions sent out with this early wall set read : 



LINE 




Fig. 26. 



DEVELOPMENT IN TELEPHONE SERVICE 321 



UMi 




Fig. 27. 



A person is shown (Fig. 28) talking to a box telephone, keeping a hand 
telephone pressed against his ear. It is evident that he can talk or listen with- 
out removing either instrument, and consequently can carry on a conversation 
with as much ease and rapidity as if in the presence of the other person. If he 
is in a noisy place he can, in listening, turn his other ear to the box telephone, 
thereby hearing what is said with increased loudness, and at the same time 
shutting out external sounds. All the telephones described above do not require 
any battery whatever, and for ordinary purposes are all that can be desired, 
both for loudness and distinctness. 

By reason of its simplicity of operation, the ' push-button mag- 
neto' (Fig. 29) type of instrument was popular during its brief 
existence. In construction and operation it materially differed from 
the crank instrument. In the latter, the current followed the re- 
volving of an armature within a magnetic field; in the former, the 
current was produced by pushing the button on the face of the instru- 
ment, thus ' forcibly detaching a soft iron armature from the poles 
of a permanent magnet surrounded with coils of insulated wire.' The 
following instructions were sent with this instrument in 1880: 

To signal the central office, press the black knob firmly twice, turn the 
switch so as to cut out the stations on the same line beyond, then place the 
telephone to the ear. If there are two black knobs on the instrument, one above 

vol. lxx. — 20. 



■*22 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



the other, press the upper one steadily while pushing the lower one. If the line 
is not being used, your bell will ring every time you press the lower knob. 
If the line is in use, your bell will not ring. As soon as you hear the op- 
erator, give him your name and the name of the person to whom you wish to 
speak; then replace the telephone on the hook. When the person called for is 
connected with your wire, your bell will ring. Be sure, on removing the tele- 
phone again, to turn the hook switch as before, unless notified by the central 
office to turn in an opposite direction. When you are notified by the central 
office that a person wishes to speak to you, keep the telephone at your ear, as 
the person will be ready to speak as soon as you are notified. 

Owing to the rapidity with which improvements and modifications 
in equipment appeared during the first five years, rarely did the sub- 
scribers in any two exchanges have the same type of instruments, the 
newer exchanges having the later types except where the most rigid 
economy was practised. Yet it often happened that when the patrons 
in one town learned that the subscribers in an adjoining town had a 
later type of instruments, the local owners were given no rest until 
up-to-date instruments were installed, even though the equipment 
declared to be antiquated and obsolete had been in use only from 
twelve to eighteen months. 



UN £ 




Fig. 28. 



DEVELOPMENT IN TELEPHONE SERVICE 



323 




Fig. 29. 



Of course, the parent company, through its earnest efforts to afford 
the operating companies every serviceable improvement, was indirectly 
responsible for this unavoidable variance in subscriber-equipment. And 
while modifications in form and improve- 
ment in workmanship were not patentable, 
they were the result of careful and costly 
experiments in the course of which the parent 
company was ' obliged to withdraw from use 
and condemn many thousands of instruments, 
not because they were inoperative, but because 
others were better.' Transmitters and re- 
ceivers were kept in good condition by the 
parent company, and replaced with new or 
improved types as often as necessary with- 
out expense to the local company. But the 
remainder of the equipment had to be pur- 
chased from such manufacturers as were able to supply it. Hence, 
to displace old with new equipment was often a costly change for the 
local company. 

In commenting on the trouble caused by defective telephone cords, 
the Committee on Telephone Supplies reported at the fourth conven- 
tion (1882) that 

while the telephone business has been one marked with progress, we have to 
confess that in this respect we have progressed but slowly, if at all. We have 
had cords of all styles, of all sizes, and constructed of all metallic material from 
the ' Gold Foil ' to the ' Steel Spiral ' ; from the large and unwieldy to the small 
and ductile. We have had ' tips ' with shields, ' tips ' with spirals, and ' tips ' 
without name. We have had forms of eyelets through which the cord is threaded 
and wrapped with linen. We have had variegated colors from the serpentine 
braid to the pale blue and the ' polka dot.' We have had all forms but the 
good. ... A cord is wanted that will not ravel at the ends, thus causing ' cut- 
outs ' in subscribers' conversations. A greater degree of perfection is required 
in fastening the tips. They should be light in weight and free from kinks 
or twists. 

In 1883, Mr. C. N. Fay said: 

The first magneto bells we had (in Chicago) came from Boston and were 
manufactured by Williams, four years ago, and they were certainly the best, so 
far as lasting qualities were concerned. The next bells we bought, in the fall of 
1879, were the first bells Gilliland made. Bells that come in under two years 
are not worn out, but there is some defect which requires repairing, and then 
the bell can be put back in service. . . . Their life will not be over four years. 
If they are not worn out, the dust and the battering they get and the general 
abuse they receive from subscribers makes them practically worthless after a 
time, and the subscriber says : ' I won't have that thing on my wall.' We have 
got to count upon replacing our entire stock of magneto bells about once in 
every four years. 

In one way it "was encouraging to the owners of the pioneer local 
plants to perceive how rapidly the list of subscribers increased. In 



324 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

another way this unexpectedly rapid growth was depressing in char- 
acter, because it had not been anticipated and consequently the plant 
had not been constructed on corresponding lines. Where the invest- 
ment was not of a speculative nature, but made on a permanent basis, 
the owners soon realized that they had not been just to themselves 
nor to the public in building so cheaply and so sparingly. Again, the 
funds necessary to meet these constantly changing conditions were not 
readily forthcoming, for not one in ten of the pioneer organizations 
earned dividends prior to 1882. 

In 1880, the parent Bell company gave this sensible advice to its 
operating companies: 

Don't expect people to ' study up ' the instruments themselves, but have 
them explained politely and patiently. Some large exchanges publish a monthly 
pamphlet containing corrected lists of subscribers, new information, etc., and 
defray the whole or part of the expense of its publication by accepting adver- 
tisements for alternate pages. A pamphlet issued in this way costs little or 
nothing, and its monthly coming is appreciated by subscribers. Don't forget 
that the local papers are a valuable means of popularizing your business. 
Advertise in them as much as circumstances demand and warrant. 

The parent company also stated that printed lists of subscribers 
should be prepared in ' form like a dancing programme.' Inciden- 
tally it may be added that current subscribers' directories in cities like 
Pittsburgh now weigh about three pounds each, while the directory 
used in New York City weighs nearly twice as much. The latter con- 
tains the names of more than three hundred thousand individuals or 
firms and about four hundred thousand copies of each issue are dis- 
tributed. Owing to the frequent revision of Bell subscriber-lists these 
' dancing-programmes ' are admittedly the most reliable directories in 
the cities. 

Although Graham Bell's hand telephone transmitted messages with 
remarkable clearness, even over long distances where no disturbing 
causes interfered, yet it did not possess sufficient power to satisfac- 
torily serve under the varied conditions that developed as the scope 
of telephone service expanded in all directions. Even though there 
were no electric-light circuits and no trolley lines, the inductive effect 
and the zone of noise was always in evidence; for telegraph lines par- 
alleled many telephone circuits and, as practically all lines were 
grounded, the effect of earth currents was often plainly perceptible. 
So sensitive was the telephone found to be, that scientists employed 
it in delicate researches to detect the flow of electrical currents so 
minute as to be inappreciable to all other instruments. And Graham 
Bell stated that in standing on a large board placed on his lawn, if 
a single spear of grass came in contact with his foot while experi- 
menting with his telephone, the effect of ground currents was instantly 
perceptible, yet disappeared the moment the connection was broken 
between shoe and grass. 



ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF MOSQUITOES 325 



THE GENERAL ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF MOSQUITOES 1 



By Professor JOHN B. SMITH 

RUTGERS COLLEGE, NEW BRUNSWICK 



~VTO one should be better qualified than a Jerseyman to speak on 
-^ this subject, for no state in the union has suffered more in repu- 
tation and in arrested prosperity from mosquitoes than New Jersey. 

During the four or five years last past, I have had opportunity to 
observe conditions closely, and there is not a section whose develop- 
ment has not been in some way affected by this insect pest. 

First: by the carriage of malarial disease, and by the term car- 
riage, I mean, of course, not the direct transmission from one indi- 
vidual to another, but that service as intermediate host in the develop- 
ment of the parasitic organisms that cause the disease. 

Anopheles occurs throughout our state, although the A. maculi- 
pennis, which is the only one of our species known to be affected by 
the parasite, is comparatively rare and is, curiously enough, more 
abundant in the more northern, hilly portions than in the southern 
lowlands, where breeding places are more numerous. 

Malarial diseases are much less common with us than they were a 
few years past, and that is due partially to the improvement of sani- 
tary conditions which lessens mosquito breeding in densely populated 
districts, and partly to the much more thorough treatment which a 
patient now receives from the attending physician. 

It requires the presence of a patient infested with the plasmodium, 
as well as of the proper species of Anopheles, to start an epidemic of 
malaria, but the mosquitoes need not be at all common to make 
trouble. I have in mind an instance very much in point: A village 
of high-class residences, well-located, generally healthy and where mos- 
quitoes were accounted among the rarities; but, as it happened, the 
few that did occur were A. maculipennis. Into that community, where 
no case of malaria had ever been known, was introduced a gang of 
Italian laborers, recent immigrants, it was later found, and most of 
whom had been affected with the fever in Italy. 

Before the end of the season a considerable number of cases of 
the sestivo-autumnal variety had developed in the village and some of 
them of the most severe type. This led to a search for the cause, 
and the breeding places for the few mosquitoes that occurred were 
located and abolished. Italian laborers have been tabooed in that 



326 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

locality since then, and for the two years last past no further case has 
developed, so far as I have been able to find. 

The agency of mosquitoes in the transmission of other febrile 
diseases is so definitely established that their economic importance 
as a menace to public health can not be doubted. Their agency in a 
number of other diseases is suspected with good reason. In New 
Jersey a recent amendment to the general health law classifies ' waters 
in which mosquito larvae breed' among the nuisances over which local 
boards of health have summary jurisdiction, and we have the fullest 
powers under our law for dealing with the mosquito pest. Action 
under those powers is not yet the rule, but each year sees a greater 
advance in this direction. 

The great bulk of the mosquitoes occurring in this section of our 
country are not agents for the transmission of any disease known to 
us; but their attacks may be, and often are, so annoying as to form 
a positive injury to the health of weak or sickly individuals by robbing 
them of sleep and by the constant irritation of their bites. To some 
persons the bite of a mosquito is really a serious matter and severe 
swelling and inflammatory conditions are caused. To nobody is it a 
pleasure to be bitten, and there is no point of view from which the 
insect is not a detriment to health and the pursuit of happiness. 

Second: the influence on the agricultural development of an in- 
fested area. This is a point that is rarely referred to, and it is not 
realized that the character of a farming district may be substantially 
modified by mosquitoes. Dairying, or supplying milk for the markets 
of New York, Philadelphia and our own cities, is a very important 
industry in New Jersey, and a large portion of the Philadelphia supply 
comes from the southern part of that state. We have a stretch of land 
in one of these southern counties eminently adapted for dairying, and 
where herds have been in times past established again and again; but 
they never lasted long, simply because the incessant attacks by swarms 
of mosquitoes reduce the yield as well as the quality of milk to such 
an extent as to make the animals unprofitable. It has been necessary 
to change the type of agriculture in these areas to a less profitable one 
simply because of the mosquito pest. 

Another section of our state, not far from the shore, is peculiarly 
adapted to the growing of small fruits, particularly berries of various 
kinds. These are very profitable and find a ready sale in the near-by 
resorts. But just about the time when these berries ripen, the country 
is apt to be flooded with swarms of mosquitoes from the salt marshes, 
and when they do come it is impossible to get pickers. Gangs of Ital- 
ians have been brought down from Philadelphia, they have started in 

1 Read at a meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine, Phila- 
delphia, December 7, 1906, and published under its imprimatur. 



ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF MOSQUITOES 327 

blithely, and by noon have given up the work and started back to the 
city. Of course such conditions do not occur every year; nor do they 
continue throughout the season; but they do occur often enough and 
last long enough to make the farmer hesitate about putting in a crop 
which he knows would pay if he got it, but which he may be compelled 
to see rot on the ground because no pickers can be found to brave the 
mosquito hosts. Few persons are ready to believe at a first statement 
how important a factor in. the agricultural development of a region the 
mosquito may become. 

Third: there is the effect of the mosquito upon the availability of 
a territory for development as a residential district. 

This is the most important feature of the problem in New Jersey to- 
day, and there is no exaggeration in the statement that the elimination 
of the mosquito would add ten millions to the taxable value of real 
estate in two years. Let me illustrate: New York City is a highly 
desirable place of residence in winter ; but less so in summer, and there 
are thousands of residents of New York City who are well able to 
afford a summer home within an hour or two from town, and who are 
quite willing to pay for it. New Jersey has many places ideal in 
situation and accessibility, and one such place developed rapidly to a 
certain point and there it stood, halted by the mosquitoes that bred in 
the surrounding marsh lands. Country club, golf, tennis and other 
attractions ceased to attract when attention was necessarily focussed 
on the biting or singing pests that intruded everywhere, and the tend- 
ency was to sell out. But the owners were not ready to quit without 
a fight, and an improvement society was formed which consulted with 
my office and followed my advice. In one year the bulk of the breed- 
ing area was drained, mosquitoes have since been absent almost entirely ; 
one gentleman, not a large owner, either, told me his property had 
increased $50,000 in value, and new settlers began to come in. This 
year one of the worst breeding areas of the olden day was used as a 
camping ground, and 100 new residences are planned for next year. 

New Jersey has miles of sea coast that is unequaled for summer 
resorts. All but a few points are practically abandoned as unin- 
habitable. Barnegat Bay and its surroundings constitute a fisherman's 
paradise, and again and again settlements have started, done well for 
a season and have been abandoned. Those who came one year never 
came again, and many who came for a month stayed only a day. 

, The only thing that prevents a continuous line of summer resorts 
along the entire shore line is the mosquito pest, and were that removed 
there would be a scramble to get land. 

We may take the result on Staten Island as an example. This 
Island, now a part of Greater New York, is geographically a portion 
of New Jersey, separated from the mainland by a narrow stream or 



328 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

'kill/ on both sides of which salt marsh flats extend for a mile or 
more to the highland. The southern and eastern shore is a continua- 
tion of the New Jersey coast line from the mouth of the Raritan 
River, and like it has a number of indentations more or less bordered 
by salt marsh areas. On all these marshes mosquitoes bred in un- 
counted millions and spread throughout the island. Result: several 
square miles of most desirable territory for suburban residences entirely 
unsettled. There are two shore resorts, South Beach and Midland 
Beach, feeble imitations of Coney Island in some directions, but more 
desirable in others, that just maintained themselves despite their at- 
tractions. During the day conditions were tolerable along shore, but 
as soon as the sun was low in the horizon trouble began, and as it 
became dusk the fight began, and pleasure seekers sought shelter 
behind screens or started for home. 

This past summer, under the supervision of Dr. A. H. Doty, state 
quarantine officer, the salt marshes have been drained in the manner 
advocated by me, and the beginning was made on the eastern and 
southern shores, where Midland and South Beach are situated. I 
need hardly say that very few believed in good results, and scepticism 
was general even in circles where we might have expected material 
support But we got the needed money, secured a contractor within 
our estimate, and the eastern and southern shore work was done before 
the breeding season set in. 

Result: there have been very few mosquitoes of any kind, and 
practically no marsh mosquitoes along this shore during the entire 
season. Visitors stayed longer and came more frequently to both 
beaches, which enjoyed a season of unparalleled prosperity, taxing the 
full capacity of the transportation companies. As the season advanced, 
the drainage work extended farther and farther away from the popu- 
lated sections, permanent residents began to notice that nobody was 
putting in screens, and that screened porches were never used. On the 
golf links games could be carried on while the light lasted, and out- 
door dinners and suppers became the rule at the Country Club. When 
it was fully realized that there was practically no mosquito pest, and 
the improvement in the character of the drained territory was obvious, 
there was a change in public sentiment. Plans were made for extend- 
ing the attractions at the beaches, and many thousands will be put into 
new amusement enterprises during the present winter. Land values 
stiffened and very little was offered for sale. 

Two industrial enterprises decided to locate on the marsh area On 
the west of the island, and these are expected to employ, respectively, 
4,000, and 6,000 men, most of whom will undoubtedly settle near-by. 
These enterprises will result in actually reclaiming a large section of 
the marsh, which is something that mosquito drainage does not and 
was not intended to accomplish. 



ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF MOSQUITOES 329 

It is fair, therefore, to consider the mosquitoes of great economic 
importance, and as serious drawbacks to any community from three 
points of view : 

First, their influence, direct and indirect, upon the health and well- 
being of the inhabitants. 

Second, their influence upon the development of the agricultural 
resources, preventing or limiting the profitable use of infested territory 
for certain purposes. 

Third, their influence upon land values due to the drawbacks men- 
tioned under 1 and 2. 

Having determined these points, it remains to determine whether, 
in any stage, any species of mosquito is of any value to man, directly 
or indirectly. The adult is a feeder upon juices of plants and animals ; 
it produces nothing of use to us and removes nothing that is detri- 
mental. It is of absolute importance to the continued existence of 
those microzoa that pass one stage of their existence in the mosquito 
body and nowhere else; but no one will argue that it is desirable to 
continue these organisms, and if the destruction of the mosquito is 
accompanied by the elimination of Plasmodia, Trypanosomes; Filaria 
and others of similar ills, a double good will have been accomplished. 

In the larval stages the species are feeders upon the microorgan- 
isms, animal and vegetable, that occur in more or less stagnant waters. 
In a way they are scavengers, and it can not be definitely said that they 
may not destroy or limit some organisms that might otherwise be or 
become harmful to man. Could it be proved then that these stagnant 
water areas are necessary, it might be a question whether it is wise to 
war on mosquitoes until we have a more definite knowledge of the food 
of the wrigglers. But are these stagnant waters of any use to man, 
and is it necessary to retain them ? On this point also it seems to me 
the answer must be against the insects, leaving absolutely no evidence 
that they are of any use or benefit whatever to the human race, directly 
or indirectly, as larva or adult. 

The legislature and governor of New Jersey are sufficiently con- 
vinced of the injurious effects of the mosquito upon the development 
of the state to venture an investment of $350,000 in the effort to secure 
the practical elimination of the pest. 



33° POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, 



HOW SHALL THE DESTRUCTIVE TENDENCIES OF 
MODEKN LIFE BE MET AND OVERCOME? 

By RICHARD COLE NEWTON, M.D. 

VTTHEN Bichat referred to civilization as 'nothing more than the 
» » environment which tends to destroy humankind/ he had in 
mind, presumably, the so-called civilization of his own time, which we 
are willing to concede was considerably below that of to-day in every 
respect and far below that of the Greeks and Romans. To illustrate 
the superior efficiency of what we may call a natural method of treat- 
ing diseases over the highly artificial and fanciful methods which pre- 
vailed long after Bichat's time, an extract from Higgins's ' Humani- 
culture ' may be paraphrased as follows : It is a matter of record that 
Augustus Caesar recovered his health after the expedition into Spain, 
when suffering from an attack of illness, said to have been due to an 
inflammation of the liver, by a treatment of baths and an exclusively 
vegetable diet; whereas, Louis XIV. of France, living 1,600 years 
later, " in the short space of one year took 215 different medicines, 212 
enemata and was bled no less than 47 times." Here is a striking 
example of progression backwards. As Dr. Higgins sententiously 
remarks, " A kindly historian would surely take such adverse circum- 
stances into consideration when he gave his judicial opinion on the 
acts of such unfortunate monarchs." 

There are still those who seem to believe that every disease has its 
appropriate and efficient remedy: a dogma long ago exploded. The 
only certain remedy for any disease is a man's own vital power. If 
the body is strong enough and well-nourished enough it will throw 
off the diseased condition. Drugs, outward applications, mental or 
spiritual influences, baths, regulation of the diet, ventilation and tem- 
perature may be of such efficient and timely aid as to turn the tide of 
battle from defeat to victory and may help nature to triumph. They, 
however, are only adjuncts. The natural inherent power of the body 
itself is the sine qua non, the absolute essential; without which all 
therapeutic measures whatever will prove unavailing. 

Admitting then that this condition of bodily vigor is necessary be- 
fore we can recover from sickness, or can withstand a severe injury, 
or shock, is it not possible to so train and develop the body that it 
will be practically non-susceptible to illness and not only that, but so 
that it will be far more efficient and enduring for all of life's work 
than the non-trained or improperly developed body? There can be 
only one answer to this question. 



DESTRUCTIVE TENDENCIES OF MODERN LIFE 331 

Probably the day has gone by when it is necessary to argue with 
intelligent people in regard to the relationship between a man's in- 
tellectual power and his bodily health and development. Had we not 
the splendid example of the Greek civilization before us, we could still 
reason it out from analogy and observation that a healthy mind 
can not under average conditions exist outside of a healthy body. As 
President Eliot has neatly put it, " The scholar must use strenuously a 
tough and alert body and possess a large vitality and a sober courage." 

The contempt in which bodily exercise has been held for many cen- 
turies and the undue laudation of mental as opposed to physical 
prowess are to a great extent at least a residuum of the reaction of the 
ecclesiastical and medical superstitions of the dark ages against the 
natural methods of the Greek philosophers and against what was con- 
sidered a too predominant admiration for the physical as opposed to 
the spiritual side of life. It seems to have been considered heathenish 
to be well formed and well developed, erect of body and broad of chest. 
The ideal saint was anaemic to a degree; the ideal successful lawyer or 
prosperous merchant was of e full round belly with good capon lined ' ; 
the ideal lady was Miss Lydia Languish with wasp-like waist and no 
organs in particular. For the last half century, however, the reaction 
toward universal physical prowess and bodily excellence has been 
advancing, and just now with its gradually accelerated momentum it 
is making wonderful progress. A great and widespread awakening is 
taking place in regard to the proposition which I have laid down as 
axiomatic: that there must be a synchronous and properly balanced 
development of mind and body, if man is to even approximate his 
glorious destiny. 

Unfortunately, many of the simplest rules relating to the develop- 
ment and care of the human body are as yet enveloped in mystery, 
or, to speak more exactly, no two authorities seem to agree upon them. 
The investigation of the regime in vogue in a number of sanatoria by 
Professor Fisher has demonstrated that scarcely any two of them agree 
in the diet prescribed for consumptive patients. The calorific value 
of the prescribed food for each person ranges, in the different institu- 
tions, between 2,000 and 5,500 calories per diem, or a difference of 
250 per cent. If then in a disease which has received the great amount 
of attention and study which has been bestowed upon tuberculosis, 
for a number of years, and in which the modern treatment is mainly 
confined to the three natural agencies of diet, fresh air and sunlight, 
there is no accord amongst clinicians as to the standard diet, what 
wonder is it that in other diseased conditions and more especially in 
health the greatest confusion prevails in regard to the best form of 
diet? 

Chemical and microscopic experiments in laboratories, however im- 



332 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

portant, even absolutely essential though they are, will never decide 
certain vital questions. Note the fantastical deduction of Metchnikoff, 
who asserts that the large intestine is really a lusus naturae, a dangerous 
and disease-breeding portion of the economy which had better be dis- 
pensed with, at least to the extent of a few feet. The idea does not 
seem to have dawned upon him that the colon might not be dangerous 
were it not overloaded with the unused products of an excessive alimen- 
tation. Nor can experiments upon animals, nor investigations in the 
professor's laboratory, ever determine this question, while there are 
already enough isolated instances on record to render it at least ex- 
tremely probable that an extended investigation of a sufficient number 
of human beings would prove that the dangerous element in the life 
of the modern man is not the anatomical mistake of superabundant 
intestine, but the overindulgence of a pampered appetite. Nor can 
a priori reasoning be depended upon to settle some very simple contro- 
versies, as, for instance, that between the vegetarians and the flesh 
eaters. So far as the writer knows, no reliable statistics have ever 
been compiled in regard to the longevity and efficiency of either of 
these classes as compared with the other. The means for settling this 
important question lie ready to our hands, viz., a careful collection 
and analysis of the statistics. 

The question of the harmfulness or the innocuousness of tobacco 
is so far from settlement that certain good authorities declare that 
its use may be a cause of arterio-sclerosis, while others say that, used 
in moderation, it is harmless. There is every probability that a 
properly conducted questionaire would settle this moot point, and so 
we might undoubtedly settle the question of the real influence of coffee 
and tea upon the health, and of various articles of diet, as well as meat 
and fish. Jonathan Hutchinson's contention that fish eating is the 
cause of leprosy and the commonly accepted belief that beri beri is 
due to eating musty rice, or even rice in good condition in undue 
proportion, have an exceedingly important bearing upon the question 
question of dietetics. 

The United States can no longer afford to neglect the experimental 
study of tropical diseases, since we are building the Panama Canal 
and have vast tropical possessions in the Philippines, not to mention 
Porto Eico. There is every encouragement to prosecute such researches 
when we reflect upon the splendid achievements of our army surgeons, 
Reed, Gorgas, Ashford, Sternberg and others. Life has been ren- 
dered happier and more secure by the devoted scientific labors of these 
men. Col. Giles has said, speaking of tropical diseases, in regard to 
the adaptability of the English to life in India, that Clive, being a 
genius, " naturally possessed the originality to modify his habits to his 
new surroundings and so survived to become an empire-builder and a 



DESTRUCTIVE TENDENCIES OF MODERN LIFE 333 

hero. Nor was the case exceptional, for looking back on the history 
of our great Indian dependency, one can not fail to be struck with 
the high average ability of the few who survived to attain leading 
positions. . . . But the rank and file, who could not or would not 
learn, died off like rotten sheep." So it is to-day in all parts of the 
globe and nowhere more plainly true than in the United States that 
only an exceptional man, almost a genius, learns to modify his habits 
and his life to his environment and to triumph over his surroundings, 
his appetites and the absurd dictates of fashion. All the world over 
the genius carves out his proper regime for himself, the average man, 
ignorantly complaisant, indulges his appetites like the rest of his kind, 
dies like a rotten sheep and leaves his life-work unfinished. 

The foregoing remarks have been confined mainly to diet because 
that is now the most pressing question before the people of this 
country and because, as said above, it is a matter upon which the 
utmost diversity of opinion exists. An observation of 10,000 people for 
ten years may be necessary to settle the question of the average standard 
diet for the average man at the different stages of life. If, however, 
it should take ten times as long and cost an amount equal to the 
national debt, it would be money and time well expended if the 
question should be settled thereby. In collating vital statistics, 
while the time of the death of any one man can not with certainty 
be predicted, the deaths of ten thousand individuals can be fixed 
with the nicest accuracy. Nothing can be asserted in regard to 
the individual, but in regard to the multitude the success of the sta- 
tistical method is surprising. So in the matter of the health records 
of one man little can be assumed from a study of his habits; if, how- 
ever, we could ascertain the life habits of 10,000 men, there is no 
question but that we could establish certain important truths in regard 
to them beyond all controversy. And it is equally certain that this 
is the only method by which some of these truths can be established. 
There is to-day absolutely nothing known about the etiology of cancer. 
This dreadful and constantly increasing disease has been studied in 
every way; in the individual, at the bedside, in the laboratory, in the 
post-mortem room, by inoculation into animals, etc., etc., and nothing 
conclusive has been discovered in regard to its causation. Had the life- 
habits of 10,000 people suffering with cancer been studied as to their 
diet, their occupation and surroundings, their use of alcohol, tobacco, 
etc., as well as the questions of heredity, of physical development and 
of the precedence of other diseased conditions in the same subject, there 
can be no doubt that important and probably convincing light, would 
have been shed upon the whole question. Studied in individuals, the 
cause of this scourge of the race has escaped every effort to locate it; 
had it been studied collectively, with a large enough number of observa- 



334 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

tions, its cause would probably have been discovered and its ravages 
arrested. This probability becomes a certainty if the disease, as has 
often been asserted, is caused by diet or by residence in certain localities. 

Lacking an authoritative standard of such an apparently simple 
thing as the human diet leaves the people a prey to any glib-tongued 
person who has any strictly original views to advance or pet theories 
to advocate. A certain magazine article which recently ridiculed most 
modern theories of diet and laid special stress on pork and beans as 
the ideal dietary of the vigorous and progressive, is a fair sample of 
the mischievous and pseudo-scientific writing which catches the popular 
eye and may do untold harm. The people deserve and should have a 
dietary standard, and there should be some competent and properly- 
equipped body, like the council on pharmacy and chemistry of the 
American Medical Association, who will spend the necessary time and 
trouble to settle the questions, not alone of the physiological diet, but 
of the proper bodily exercise, of ventilation, heating, bathing, etc., etc., 
in short of personal hygiene; as well as the problems affecting the 
public health, the pollution of streams and the extinction of tuber- 
culosis. 

Furthermore, any new system of therapeutics or any alleged new 
remedy should be submitted to this body of experts for trial, and ap- 
proval or condemnation, before it should be possible to advertise it 
to the public. A variety of methods of treatment are from time to time 
exploited and no one has the legal right to supervise them or to decide 
whether, on the one hand, they can do what they are advertised to be 
able to accomplish or, on the other hand, whether they can be trusted 
not to harm and injure the people. 

If the government can inspect food, it certainly has a right, and 
should exercise it, to determine, for example, whether or not any 
newly-advertised method of treatment is safe and appropriate. The 
objection may be raised against such a proposition as the foregoing 
that it would be an interference with the personal liberty of which 
our country is so justly proud; to which the obvious reply is that it is 
not suggested that any one who wishes to submit to any special course 
of treatment for a particular disease should be prevented by law from 
doing so, but every one has a right to know whether the claims of any 
newly-advertised remedy can be substantiated. In other words, it is 
no infringement of personal liberty to force a person who professes 
to have a new and valuable remedy to prove that it is at least not 
injurious before he shall be allowed to exploit it. 

In the material world we have studied everything that grows or 
exists that can be marketed or used for man's sustenance or comfort, 
to extend his knowledge, beautify his home, or divert his leisure, but 
man himself in his most necessary functions, to wit, as an animal, 



DESTRUCTIVE TENDENCIES OF MODERN LIFE 335 

has not been studied in any comprehensive and thorough manner, unless 
we may say that the Japanese have done it, since the days of Juvenal 
who gave us the immortal sentiment ' mens sana in corpore sano.' 

If twentieth-century civilization is to make further advance, if our 
beloved country is to be much longer inhabited by Americans, if in 
short the present Anglo-Saxon race is not to die out, steps must be 
taken to study the conditions of existence and ascertain what measures 
must be adopted to prevent the terrible waste of human life, now going 
on without let or hindrance. We are wasteful of many things, but of 
nothing else are we so wasteful as of human life. And most of this 
waste is entirely preventable. President Mayo said at the last meet- 
ing of the American Medical Association that a sufferer from typhoid 
fever has as good a right to sue the city where he contracted the 
filthy complaint as though he had hurt himself by a fall on a defective 
pavement, and yet we read in the newspapers of epidemics of typhoid 
fever just broken out in Cincinnati, Newark and other places. Were it 
outbreak of rinderpest or foot- and mouth-disease, stringent means 
would be at once taken to stop it and all the forces of the government 
would be enlisted to save cattle or sheep that have a market value. But 
human beings may die of typhoid fever, as our soldiers did in Camp 
Thomas, and no one be called to account; and yet we call ourselves a 
civilized and a God-fearing nation. Verily our brother's blood shall 
be required at our hands. 

Lyman Abbott said in his baccalaureate sermon at Cambridge 
that we are entering a period of fraternalism : " There has been 
autocracy and individualism, but the new life shall be one not of 
socialism, nor communism, but of fraternalism." We are the keepers 
of our brother's body, his health, his happiness, his children and his 
chance to develop and to work out his destiny. We can not escape this 
responsibility. Knowing its duty, our government must do it and 
will do it. 

Does any one doubt the possible value of government interference 
in the hygiene of daily life? If so, let him reflect on the diminished 
death-rate from tuberculosis since the treatment of the disease by fresh 
air, sunlight and an improved dietary has been so largely inaugurated. 
The death-rate from this disease in the United States has fallen in 
twenty years from about 40 per 10,000 of the population annually to 
about 18 per 10,000, and there is every reason to believe that it can be 
reduced still lower. The returns furnished in the German tuber- 
culosis congress show a decrease of 38 per cent, in deaths from phthisis 
in Germany since 1875. The German insurance companies from 
1901 to 1905 spent over $9,000,000 in fighting the disease and in estab- 
lishing thirty-six sanatoria. These sanatoria, together with strict in- 
spection and enforcement of sanitary regulations in that country, are 



336 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

believed to be the cause of the remarkable decrease in the mortality 
from consumption. 

The diseases of the circulatory and eliminative organs, of which 
arterio-sclerosis may be cited as the type, are the destructive element 
which bear off our brain workers and educated men many years before 
their time. Does any one doubt that these men might live as long, as 
happily and usefully as Carnaro did, if they will ascertain, as he did, 
the physiological regime upon which their lives should be governed 
and act accordingly? 

See what Japan, in the science of domestic hygiene certainly the 
most civilized nation on the globe, has accomplished in the few short 
years between its war with China and its war with Eussia. In the 
former war three Japanese soldiers died from disease to one who died 
from wounds. This has been considered the average mortality rate of 
modern warfare, and so strong is prejudice and so well entrenched is 
error that this ratio has been looked upon as the inevitable consequence 
of war, whereas in the Eusso-Japanese war, by the exercise of simple 
and perfectly feasible methods, the ratio of the mortality from sickness 
to that from wounds in the Japanese army assumed the proportion of 
one to four and one half, a difference from the accepted ratio of almost 
800 per cent. No one would have believed this possible had it not been 
amply demonstrated. Suppose that an army of United States troops 
was opposed to a Japanese army. It would not be necessary for the 
latter to strike a blow or to fire a gun ; if they could only hold our army 
in check for six months disease would do the rest. Do I say disease? 
I mean the ignorance and officialism which prevents the systematic 
adoption of the study of the individual soldier and the reasonable pre- 
cautions which have borne such splendid results in Japan. And shall 
we decline to undertake similar studies in civil life because this has not 
been done heretofore? Did not Baron Takaki's epoch-making study 
of the ration in the Japanese navy stamp out beri beri in that branch 
of the service and enable Admiral Togo to annihilate the splendid 
Eussian fleet? 

We live as though we fully believed that man, of all living animals, 
is exempt from natural laws or can live superior to them. Eace horses, 
bullocks, poult^, are reared under the strictest rules of diet and 
hygiene. Our children are left to ignorant nurses, or the divided 
counsels of improperly instructed medical men. We pass laws to pre- 
vent the children of the poor from working nights or in unwholesome 
surroundings, and yet we allow an overcrowded a»d ill-advised system 
of public instruction to seriously and sometimes fatally injure our own 
children. 

There is a glaring hiatus in our educational system. The only 
remedy is in the proper physical education of children and the in- 



DESTRUCTIVE TENDENCIES OF MODERN LIFE 337 

stmction of parents and teachers in the rules of proper physiological 
development. Kules for the development and classification of children 
in the public schools of Chicago have, after much painstaking labor, 
been pretty well worked out. These results should be collated and 
compared with similar results obtained in other cities and good working 
rules deduced from them for national application. Only a board of 
skilled workers under national control would have the authority, the 
influence and the means to formulate and apply such rules. 

~No doubt this proposition will meet with opposition from the stag- 
nant elements of society, known as conservative, and from scientists 
falsely so-called (being in truth pedants and the greatest hinderance to 
all true progress). All thinking men will agree, however, that if 
such an investigation did nothing else, it would tend to develop the 
physical conscience and clarify the average conception of life. Could 
people generally be convinced that over-indulgence in flesh food is one 
of the principal causes, not alone of early decay and death, but of the 
almost unquenchable human appetite for alcohol and narcotics, an 
immense stride would have been made in human progress. And it is 
extremely likely that of the $600,000,000 which this country is said to 
spend annually in caring for its defectives and criminals, enough could 
be saved in a few years to carry on such an investigation as we have out- 
lined for a lifetime. ' Science is the only true charity and the only 
true remedy.' Allowing degeneration, allowing intemperance, allow- 
ing immorality, gluttony and ignorance to emasculate our youth, 
poison the body politic, fill our penal institutions and, worst of all, 
prevent the proper development of our men and women, is race suicide 
on a scale not contemplated in ordinary family life, but multiplied by 
millions, and surely, unless checked, leading to national destruction 
and disintegration. The remedy is a proper solution of the so-called 
common questions of life : the neglected body, the despised dietetics, the 
irksome exercise must be studied by trained and accomplished experts 
not clinicians, not school teachers, not moralists, not sanitarians in the 
ordinary acceptation of the term, but specialists in humaniculture, 
humanists in the true sense, and these great and simple truths, which 
the Greeks mastered, must be learned over again in the light of modern 
science (not pedantry), and taught to our children's children; then 
shall be realized " that future where the highest art and most perfect 
science will be those of the development of man's faculties and apti- 
tudes to a degree of which the Greek civilization will afford an indica- 
tion instead of an unattainable ideal." 



vol.lxx. — 21. 



338 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 

By M. H. POINCARE 

MEMBER OF THE INSTITUTE OF FRANCE 

Chaptee VII. The History of Mathematical Physics 
The Past and the Future of Physics 
TT7 HAT is the present state of mathematical physics ? What are 
» » the problems it is led to set itself ? What is its future ? Is 
its orientation about to be modified ? 

Ten years hence will the aim and the methods of this science ap- 
pear to our immediate successors in the same light as to ourselves; 
or, on the contrary, are we about to witness a profound transforma- 
tion? Such are the questions we are forced to raise in entering to-day 
upon our investigation. 

If it is easy to propound them: to answer is difficult. If we felt 
tempted to risk a prediction, we should easily resist this temptation, 
by thinking of all the stupidities the most eminent savants of a hun- 
dred years ago would have uttered, if some one had asked them what 
the science of the nineteenth century would be. They would have 
thought themselves bold in their predictions, and after the event, how 
very timid we should have found them. Do not, therefore, expect of 
me any prophecy. 

But if, like all prudent physicians, I shun giving a prognosis, yet 
I can not dispense with a little diagnostic; well, yes, there are indica- 
tions of a serious crisis, as if we might expect an approaching trans- 
formation. Still, be not too anxious : we are sure the patient will not 
die of it, and we may even hope that this crisis will be salutary, for 
the history of the past seems to guarantee us this. This crisis, in fact, 
is not the first, and to understand it, it is important to recall those 
which have preceded. Pardon then a brief historical sketch. 

The Physics of Central Forces 

Mathematical physics, as we know, was born of celestial mechan- 
ics, which gave birth to it at the end of the eighteenth century, at the 
moment when it itself attained its complete development. During its 
first years especially the infant strikingly resembled its mother. 

The astronomic universe is formed of masses, very great, no doubt, 
but separated by intervals so immense that they appear to us only as 
material points. These points attract each other inversely as the 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 339 

square of the distance, and this attraction is the sole force which influ- 
ences their movements. But if our senses were sufficiently keen to 
show us all the details of the bodies which the physicist studies, the 
spectacle thus disclosed would scarcely differ from the one the astrono- 
mer contemplates. There also we should see material points, sepa- 
rated from one another by intervals, enormous in comparison with 
their dimensions, and describing orbits according to regular laws. 
These infinitesimal stars are the atoms. Like the stars proper, they 
attract or repel each other, and this attraction or this repulsion fol- 
lowing the straight line which joins them, depends only on the dis- 
tance. The law according to which this force varies as function of 
the distance is perhaps not the law of Newton, but it is an analogous 
law ; in place of the exponent — 2, we have probably a different expo- 
nent, and it is from this change of exponent that arises all the diver- 
sity of physical phenomena, the variety of qualities and of sensations, 
all the world, colored and sonorous, which surrounds us; in a word, 
all nature. 

Such is the primitive conception in all its purity. It only remains 
to seek in the different cases what value should be given to this expo- 
nent in order to explain all the facts. It is on this model that Laplace, 
for example, constructed his beautiful theory of capillarity; he regards 
it only as a particular case of attraction, or, as he says, of universal 
gravitation, and no one is astonished to find it in the middle of one 
of the five volumes of the ' Mecanique celeste.' More recently Briot 
believes he penetrated the final secret of optics in demonstrating that 
the atoms of ether attract each other in the inverse ratio of the sixth 
power of the distance ; and Maxwell, Maxwell himself, does he not say 
somewhere that the atoms of gases repel each other in the inverse ratio 
of the fifth power of the distance ? We have the exponent — 6, or 
— 5, in place of the exponent — 2, but it is always an exponent. 

Among the theories of this epoch, one alone is an exception, that 
of Fourier; in it are indeed atoms acting at a distance one upon the 
other; they mutually transmit heat, but they do not attract, they 
never budge. From this point of view, Fourier's theory must have 
appeared to the eyes of his contemporaries, to those of Fourier him- 
self, as imperfect and provisional. 

This conception was not without grandeur; it was seductive, and 
many among us have not finally renounced it ; they know that one will 
attain the ultimate elements of things only by patiently disentangling 
the complicated skein that our senses give us; that it is necessary to 
advance step by step, neglecting no intermediary; that our fathers 
were wrong in wishing to skip stations; but they believe that when 
one shall have arrived at these ultimate elements, there again will be 
found the majestic simplicity of celestial mechanics. 



34Q POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

Neither has this conception been useless; it has rendered us an 
inestimable service, since it has contributed to make precise the funda- 
mental notion of the physical law. 

I will explain myself; how did the ancients understand law? It 
was for them an internal harmony, static, so to say, and immutable; 
or else it was like a model that nature tried to imitate. For us a law 
is something quite different; it is a constant relation between the 
phenomenon of to-day and that of to-morrow; in a word, it is a differ- 
ential equation. 

Behold the ideal form of physical law; well, it is Newton's law 
which first clothed it forth. If then one has acclimated this form in 
physics, it is precisely by copying as far as possible this law of New- 
ton, that is by imitating celestial mechanics. This is, moreover, the 
idea I have tried to bring out in chapter VI. 

The Physics of the Principles 

Nevertheless, a day arrived when the conception of central forces 
no longer appeared sufficient, and this is the first of those crises of 
which I just now spoke. 

What was done then? The attempt to penetrate into the detail of 
the structure of the universe, to isolate the pieces of this vast mechan- 
ism, to analyze one by one the forces which put them in motion, was 
abandoned, and we were content to take as guides certain general prin- 
ciples the express object of which is to spare us this minute study. 
How so? Suppose we have before us any machine; the initial wheel 
work and the final wheel work alone are visible, but the transmission, 
the intermediary machinery by which the movement is communicated 
from one to the other, are hidden in the interior and escape our view; 
we do not know whether the communication is made by gearing or by 
belts, by connecting-rods or by other contrivances. Do we say that it 
is impossible for us to understand anything about this machine so long 
as we are not permitted to take it to pieces? You know well we do 
not, and that the principle of the conservation of energy suffices to 
determine for us the most interesting point. We easily ascertain that 
the final wheel turns ten times less quickly than the initial wheel, 
since these two wheels are visible ; we are able thence to conclude that 
a couple applied to the one will be balanced by a couple ten times 
greater applied to the other. For that there is no need to penetrate 
the mechanism of this equilibrium and to know how the forces com- 
pensate each other in the interior of the machine; it suffices to be 
assured that this compensation can not fail to occur. 

Well, in regard to the universe, the principle of the conservation of 
energy is able to render us the same service. The universe is also a 
machine, much more complicated than all those of industry, of which 



THE VALVE OF SCIENCE 341 

almost all the parts are profoundly hidden from us; but in observing 
the motion of those that we can see, we are able, by the aid of this 
principle, to draw conclusions which remain true whatever may be the 
details of the invisible mechanism which animates them. 

The principle of the conservation of energy, or Mayer's principle, 
is certainly the most important, but it is not the only one; there are 
others from which we can derive the same advantage. These are : 

Carnot's principle, or the principle of the degradation of energy. 

Newton's principle, or the principle of the equality of action and 
reaction. 

The principle of relativity, according to which the laws of physical 
phenomena must be the same for a stationary observer as for an ob- 
server carried along in a uniform motion of translation ; so that we have 
not and can not have any means of discerning whether or not we are 
carried along in such a motion. 

The principle of the conservation of mass, or Lavoisier's principle. 

I will add the principle of least action. 

The application of these five or six general principles to the differ- 
ent physical phenomena is sufficient for our learning of them all that 
we could reasonably hope to know of them. The most remarkable 
example of this new mathematical physics is, beyond question, Max- 
well's electromagnetic theory of light. 

We know nothing as to what the ether is, how its molecules are 
disposed, whether they attract or repel each other; but we know that 
this medium transmits at the same time the optical perturbations and 
the electrical perturbations; we know that this transmission must take 
place in conformity with the general principles of mechanics, and that 
suffices us for the establishment of the equations of the electromagnetic 
field. 

These principles are results of experiments boldly generalized; but 
they seem to derive from their very generality a high degree of cer- 
tainty. In fact, the more general they are, the more frequent are the 
opportunities to check them, and the verifications multiplying, taking 
the most varied, the most unexpected forms, end by no longer leaving 
place for doubt. 

Utility of the Old Physics. — Such is the second phase of the his- 
tory of mathematical physics and we have not yet emerged from it. 
Shall we say that the first has been useless? that during fifty years 
science went the wrong way, and that there is nothing left but to for- 
get so many accumulated efforts that a vicious conception condemned 
in advance to failure ? Not the least in the world. Do you think the 
second phase could have come into existence without the first? The 
hypothesis of central forces contained all the principles; it involved 
them as necessary consequences; it involved both the conservation of 



342 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

energy and that of masses, and the equality of action and reaction, and 
the law of least action, which appeared, it is true, not as experimental 
truths, but as theorems; the enunciation of which had at the same 
time something more precise and less general than under their pres- 
ent form. 

It is the mathematical physics of our fathers which has familiarized 
us little by little with these various principles; which has habituated 
us to recognize them under the different vestments in which they dis- 
guise themselves. They have been compared with the data of experi- 
ence, it has been seen how it was necessary to modify their enunciation 
to adapt them to these data ; thereby they have been extended and con- 
solidated. Thus they came to be regarded as experimental truths; the 
conception of central forces became then a useless support, or rather 
an embarrassment, since it made the principles partake of its hypo- 
thetical character. 

The frames then have not broken, because they are elastic; but 
they have enlarged; our fathers, who established them, did not labor 
in vain, and we recognize in the science of to-day the general traits of 
the sketch which they traced. 

Chapter VIII. The Present Crisis of Mathematical Physics 
The New Crisis. — Are we now about to enter upon a third period? 
Are we on the eve of a second crisis ? These principles on which we have 
built all, are they about to crumble away in their turn? This has 
been for some time a pertinent question. 

"When I speak thus, you no doubt think of radium, that grand 
revolutionist of the present time, and in fact I shall come back to 
it presently ; but there is something else. It is not alone the conserva- 
tion of energy which is in question; all the other principles are 
equally in danger, as we shall see in passing them successively in 
review. 

Camot's Principle. — Let us commence with the principle of Carnot. 
This is the only one which does not present itself as an immediate 
consequence of the hypothesis of central forces; more than that, it 
seems, if not to directly contradict that hypothesis, at least not to 
be reconciled with it without a certain effort. If physical phenomena 
were due exclusively to the movements of atoms whose mutual at- 
traction depended only on the distance, it seems that all these phe- 
nomena should be reversible; if all the initial velocities were reversed, 
these atoms, always subjected to the same forces, ought to go over 
their trajectories in the contrary sense, just as the earth would de- 
scribe in the retrograde sense this same elliptic orbit which it de- 
scribes in the direct sense, if the initial conditions of its motion had 
been reversed. On this account, if a physical phenomenon is possible, 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 343 

the inverse phenomenon should be equally so, and one should be able 
to reascend the course of time. Now, it is not so in nature, and this 
is precisely what the principle of Carnot teaches us; heat can pass 
from the warm body to the cold body; it is impossible afterwards to 
make it take the inverse route and to reestablish differences of tem- 
perature which have been effaced. Motion can be wholly dissipated 
and transformed into heat by friction; the contrary transformation 
can never be made except partially. 

We have striven to reconcile this apparent contradiction. If the 
world tends toward uniformity, this is not because its ultimate parts, at 
first unlike, tend to become less and less different; it is because, shifting 
at random, they end by blending. For an eye which should distin- 
guish all the elements, the variety would remain always as great; 
each grain of this dust preserves its originality and does not model 
itself on its neighbors; but as the blend becomes more and more inti- 
mate, our gross senses perceive only the uniformity. This is why, 
for example, temperatures tend to a level, without the possibility 
of going backwards. 

A drop of wine falls into a glass of water; whatever may be the 
law of the internal motion of the liquid, we shall soon see it colored 
of a uniform rosy tint, and however much from this moment one 
may shake it afterwards, the wine and the water do not seem capable 
of again separating. Here we have the type of the irreversible phys- 
ical phenomenon: to hide a grain of barley in a heap of wheat, this 
is easy; afterwards to find it again and get it out, this is practically 
impossible. All this Maxwell and Boltzmann have explained; but the 
one who has seen it most clearly, in a book too little read because it 
is a little difficult to read, is Gibbs, in his ' Elementary Principles 
of Statistical Mechanics.' 

For those who take this point of view, Carnot's principle is only an 
imperfect principle, a sort of concession to the infirmity of our senses; 
it is because our eyes are too gross that we do not distinguish the 
elements of the blend; it is because our hands are too gross that we 
can not force them to separate; the imaginary demon of Maxwell, 
who is able to sort the molecules one by one, could well constrain 
the world to return backward. Can it return of itself? That is not 
impossible; that is only infinitely improbable. The chances are that 
we should wait a long time for the concourse of circumstances which 
would permit a retrogradation ; but sooner or later they will occur, 
after years whose number it would take millions of figures to write. 
These reservations, however, all remained theoretic; they were not 
very disquieting, and Carnot's principle retained all its principal value. 
But here the scene changes. The biologist, armed with his microscope, 
long ago noticed in his preparations irregular movements of little 



344 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

particles in suspension; this is the Brownian movement. He first 
thought this was a vital phenomenon, but soon he saw that the in- 
animate bodies danced with no less ardor than the others; then he 
turned the matter over to the physicists. Unhappily, the physicists 
remained long uninterested in this question; one concentrates the 
light to illuminate the microscopic preparation, thought they; with 
light goes heat; thence inequalities of temperature and in the liquid 
interior currents which produce the movements referred to. 

It occurred to M. Gouy to look more closely, and he saw, or thought 
he saw, that this explanation is untenable, that the movements become 
brisker as the particles are smaller, but that they are not influenced 
by the mode of illumination. If then these movements never cease, 
or rather are reborn without cease, without borrowing anything from 
an external source of energy, what ought we to believe? To be sure, 
we should not on this account renounce our belief in the conservation 
of energy, but we see under our eyes now motion transformed into 
heat by friction, now inversely heat changed into motion, and that 
without loss since the movement lasts forever. This is the contrary 
of Carnot's principle. If this be so, to see the world return backward, 
we no longer have need of the infinitely keen eye of Maxwell's demon; 
our microscope suffices. Bodies too large, those, for example, which 
are a tenth of a millimeter, are hit from all sides by moving atoms, 
but they do not budge, because these shocks are very numerous and the 
law of chance makes them compensate each other; but the smaller 
particles receive too few shocks for this compensation to take place 
with certainty and are incessantly knocked about. And behold already 
one of our principles in peril. 

The Principle of Relativity. — Let us pass to the principle of rela- 
tivity: this not only is confirmed by daily experience, not only is it 
a necessary consequence of the hypothesis of central forces, but it is 
irresistibly imposed upon our good sense, and yet it also is assailed. 
Consider two electrified bodies; though they seem to us at rest, they 
are both carried along by the motion of the earth; an electric charge 
in motion, Rowland has taught us, is equivalent to a current; these two 
charged bodies are, therefore, equivalent to two parallel currents of 
the same sense and these two currents should attract each other. In 
measuring this attraction, we shall measure the velocity of the earth; 
not its velocity in relation to the sun or the fixed stars, but its ab- 
solute velocity. 

I well know what will be said: It is not its absolute velocity that 
is measured, it is its velocity in relation to the ether. How unsatisfactory 
that is ! Is it not evident that from the principle so understood we 
could no longer infer anything? It could no longer tell us anything 
just because it would no longer fear any contradiction. If we succeed 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 345 

in measuring anything, we shall always be free to say that this is 
not the absolute velocity, and if it is not the velocity in relation 
to the ether, it might always be the velocity in relation to some new 
unknown fluid with which we might fill space. 

Indeed, experiment has taken upon itself to ruin this interpretation 
of the principle of relativity; all attempts to measure the velocity of 
the earth in relation to the ether have led to negative results. This 
time experimental physics has been more faithful to the principle than 
mathematical physics ; the theorists, to put in accord their other general 
views, would not have spared it; but experiment has been stubborn 
in confirming it. The means have been varied; finally Michelson 
pushed precision to its last limits; nothing came of it. It is pre- 
cisely to explain this obstinacy that the mathematicians are forced 
to-day to employ all their ingenuity. 

Their task was not easy, and if Lorentz has got through it, it is 
only by accumulating hypotheses. 

The most ingenious idea was that of local time. Imagine two 
observers who wish to adjust their timepieces by optical signals; they 
exchange signals, but as they know that the transmission of light 
is not instantaneous, they are careful to cross them. When station B 
perceives the signal from station A, its clock should not mark the same 
hour as that of station A at the moment of sending the signal, but 
this hour augmented by a constant representing the duration of the 
transmission. Suppose, for example, that station A sends its signal 
when its clock marks the hour 0, and that station B perceives it when 
its clock marks the hour t. The clocks are adjusted if the slowness 
equal to t represents the duration of the transmission, and to verify 
it, station B sends in its turn a signal when its clock marks ; then 
station A should perceive it when its clock marks t. The timepieces 
are then adjusted. 

And in fact they mark the same hour at the same physical instant, 
but on the one condition, that the two stations are fixed. Otherwise 
the duration of the transmission will not be the same in the two senses, 
since the station A, for example, moves forward to meet the optical 
perturbation emanating from B, whereas the station B flees before the 
perturbation emanating from A. The watches adjusted in that way 
will not mark, therefore, the true time; they will mark what may be 
called the local time, so that one of them will gain on the other. It 
matters little, since we have no means of perceiving it. All the phe- 
nomena which happen at A, for example, will be late, but all will be 
equally so, and the observer will not perceive it, since his watch is 
slow; so, as the principle of relativity would have it, he will have no 
means of knowing whether he is at rest or in absolute motion. 

Unhappily, that does not suffice, and complementary hypotheses 



346 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

are necessary; it is necessary to admit that bodies in motion undergo 
a uniform contraction in the sense of the motion. One of the diame- 
ters of the earth, for example, is shrunk by one two-hundred-mil- 
lionth in consequence of our planet's motion, while the other diameter 
retains its normal length. Thus the last little differences are com- 
pensated. And then, there is still the hypothesis about forces. 
Forces, whatever be their origin, gravity as well as elasticity, would 
be reduced in a certain proportion in a world animated by a uniform 
translation; or, rather, this would happen for the components perpen- 
dicular to the translation; the components parallel would not change. 
Eesume, then, our example of two electrified bodies; these bodies repel 
each other, but at the same time if all is carried along in a uniform 
translation, they are equivalent to two parallel currents of the same 
sense which attract each other. This electrodynamic attraction dimin- 
ishes, therefore, the electrostatic repulsion, and the total repulsion is 
feebler than if the two bodies were at rest. But since to measure this 
repulsion we must balance it by another force, and all these other 
forces are reduced in the same proportion, we perceive nothing. Thus, 
all seems arranged, but are all the doubts dissipated? What would 
happen if one could communicate by non-luminous signals whose 
velocity of propagation differed from that of light? If, after having 
adjusted the watches by the optical procedure, we wished to verify the 
adjustment by the aid of these new signals, we should observe dis- 
crepancies which would render evident the common translation of the 
two stations. And are such signals inconceivable, if we admit with 
Laplace that universal gravitation is transmitted a million times more 
rapidly than light? 

Thus, the principle of relativity has been valiantly defended in 
these latter times, but the very energy of the defense proves how serious 
was the attack. 

Newton's Principle. — Let us speak now of the principle of New- 
ton, on the equality of action and reaction. This is intimately bound 
up with the preceding, and it seems indeed that the fall of the one 
would involve that of the other. Thus we must not be astonished to 
find here the same difficulties. 

Electrical phenomena, according to the theory of Lorentz, are due 
to the displacements of little charged particles, called electrons, im- 
mersed in the medium we call ether. The movements of these elec- 
trons produce perturbations in the neighboring ether; these perturba- 
tions propagate themselves in every direction with the velocity of light, 
and in turn other electrons, originally at rest, are made to vibrate 
when the perturbation reaches the parts of the ether which touch them. 
The electrons, therefore, act on one another, but this action is not 
direct, it is accomplished through the ether as intermediary. Under 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 347 

these conditions can there be compensation between action and reac- 
tion, at least for an observer who should take account only of the move- 
ments of matter, that is, of the electrons, and who should be ignorant 
of those of the ether that he could not see? Evidently not. Even if 
the compensation should be exact, it could not be simultaneous. The 
perturbation is propagated with a finite velocity; it, therefore, reaches 
the second electron only when the first has long ago entered upon its 
rest. This second electron, therefore, will undergo, after a delay, the 
action of the first, but will certainly not at that moment react upon 
it, since around this first electron nothing any longer budges. 

The analysis of the facts permits us to be still more precise. Im- 
agine, for example, a Hertzian oscillator, like those used in wireless 
telegraphy; it sends out energy in every direction; but we can provide 
it with a parabolic mirror, as Hertz did with his smallest oscillators, 
so as to send all the energy produced in a single direction. What 
happens then according to the theory? The apparatus recoils, as if 
it were a cannon and the projected energy a ball ; and that is contrary 
to the principle of Newton, since our projectile here has no mass, it is 
not matter, it is energy. The case is still the same, moreover, with a 
beacon light provided with a reflector, since light is nothing but a 
perturbation of the electromagnetic field. This beacon light should 
recoil as if the light it sends out were a projectile. What is the force 
that should produce this recoil? It is what is called Maxwell-Bar- 
tholdi pressure. It is very minute, and it has been difficult to put it in 
evidence even with the most sensitive radiometers; but it suffices that 
it exists. 

If all the energy issuing from our oscillator falls on a receiver, this 
will act as if it had received a mechanical shock, which will represent 
in a sense the compensation of the oscillator's recoil; the reaction will 
be equal to the action, but it will not be simultaneous; the receiver 
will move on, but not at the moment when the oscillator recoils. If 
the energy propagates itself indefinitely without encountering a re- 
ceiver, the compensation will never occur. 

Shall we say that the space which separates the oscillator from the 
receiver and which the perturbation must pass over in going from the 
one to the other is not void, that it is full not only of ether, but of air, 
or even in the interplanetary spaces of some fluid subtile but still pon- 
derable; that this matter undergoes the shock like the receiver at the 
moment when the energy reaches it, and recoils in its turn when the 
perturbation quits it? That would save Newton's principle, but that 
is not true. If energy in its diffusion remained always attached to 
some material substratum, then matter in motion would carry along 
light with it, and Fizeau has demonstrated that it does nothing of the 
sort, at least for air. Michelson and Morley have since confirmed this. 



348 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

It might be supposed also that the movements of matter proper are 
exactly compensated by those of the ether; but that would lead us to 
the same reflections as before now. The principle so understood will 
explain everything, since, whatever might be the visible movements, we 
always could imagine hypothetical movements Avhich compensate them. 
But if it is able to explain everything, this is because it does not enable 
us to foresee anything; it does not enable us to decide between the 
different possible hypotheses, since it explains everything beforehand. 
It therefore becomes useless. 

And then the suppositions that it would be necessary to make on 
the movements of the ether are not very satisfactory. If the electric 
charges double, it would be natural to imagine that the velocities of 
the diverse atoms of ether double also, and for the compensation, it 
would be necessary that the mean velocity of the ether quadruple. 

This is why I have long thought that these consequences of theory, 
contrary to Newton's principle, would end some day by being aban- 
doned, and yet the recent experiments on the movements of the elec- 
trons issuing from radium seem rather to confirm them. 

Lavoisier's Principle. — I arrive at the principle of Lavoisier on the 
conservation of mass. Certainly, this is one not to be touched without 
unsettling all mechanics. And now certain persons think that it seems 
true to us only because in mechanics merely moderate velocities are 
considered, but that it would cease to be true for bodies animated by 
velocities comparable to that of light. Now these velocities, it is be- 
lieved at present, have been realized; the cathode rays or those of 
radium may be formed of very minute particles or of electrons which 
are displaced with velocities smaller no doubt than that of light, but 
which might be its one tenth or one third. 

These rays can be deflected, whether by an electric field, or by a 
magnetic field, and we are able, by comparing these deflections, to 
measure at the same time the velocity of the electrons and their mass 
(or rather the relation of their mass to their charge). But when it 
was seen that these velocities approached that of light, it was decided 
that a correction was necessary. These molecules, being electrified. 
can not be displaced without agitating the ether ; to put them in motion 
it is necessary to overcome a double inertia, that of the molecule itself 
and that of the ether. The total or apparent mass that one measures 
is composed, therefore, of two parts: the real or mechanical mass of 
the molecule and the electrodynamic mass representing the inertia of 
the ether. 

The calculations of Abraham and the experiments of Kaufmann 
have then shown that the mechanical mass, properly so called, is null, 
and that the mass of the electrons, or, at least, of the negative elec- 
trons, is of exclusively electrodynamic origin. This is what forces us 



THE VALUE OF SCIENCE 349 

to change the definition of mass; we can not any longer distinguish 
mechanical mass and electrodynamic mass, since then the first would 
vanish; there is no mass other than electrodynamic inertia. But in 
this case the mass can no longer be constant; it augments with the 
velocity, and it even depends on the direction, and a body animated 
by a notable velocity will not oppose the same inertia to the forces 
which tend to deflect it from its route, as to those which tend to accel- 
erate or to retard its progress. 

There is still a resource; the ultimate elements of bodies are elec- 
trons, some charged negatively, the others charged positively. The 
negative electrons have no mass, this is understood; but the positive 
electrons, from the little we know of them, seem much greater. Per- 
haps they have, besides their electrodynamic mass, a true mechanical 
mass. The real mass of a body would, then, be the sum of the mechan- 
ical masses of its positive electrons, the negative electrons not count- 
ing; mass so defined might still be constant. 

Alas ! this resource also evades us. Recall what we have said of 
the principle of relativity and of the efforts made to save it. And it 
is not merely a principle which it is a question of saving, it is the in- 
dubitable results of the experiments of Michelson. 

Well, as was above seen, Lorentz, to account for these results, was 
obliged to suppose that all forces, whatever their origin, were reduced 
in the same proportion in a medium animated by a uniform transla- 
tion ; this is not sufficient ; it is not enough that this take place for the 
real forces, it must also be the same for the forces of inertia; it is 
therefore necessary, he says, that the masses of all the particles be influ- 
enced by a translation to the same degree as the electromagnetic masses 
of the electrons. 

So the mechanical masses must vary in accordance with the same 
laws as the electrodynamic masses ; they can not, therefore, be constant. 

Need I point out that the fall of Lavoisier's principle involves that 
of Newton's? This latter signifies that the center of gravity of an 
isolated system moves in a straight line; but if there is no longer a 
constant mass, there is no longer a center of gravity, we no longer 
know even what this is. This is why I said above that the experiments 
on the cathode rays appeared to justify the doubts of Lorentz concern- 
ing Newton's principle. 

From all these results, if they were confirmed, would arise an en- 
tirely new mechanics, which would be, above all, characterized by this 
fact, that no velocity could surpass that of light, 1 any more than any 
temperature can fall below absolute zero. 

1 Because bodies would oppose an increasing inertia to the causes which 
would tend to accelerate their motion; and this inertia would become infinite 
when one approached the velocity of light. 



350 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

No more for an observer, carried along himself in a translation he 
does not suspect, could any apparent velocity surpass that of light ; and 
this would be then a contradiction, if we did not recall that this ob- 
server would not use the same clocks as a fixed observer, but, indeed, 
clocks marking ' local time.' 

Here we are then facing a question I content myself with stating. 
If there is no longer any mass, what becomes of Newton's law? Mass 
has two aspects: it is at the same time a coefficient of inertia and an 
attracting mass entering as factor into Newtonian attraction. If the 
coefficient of inertia is not constant, can the attracting mass be? That 
is the question. 

Mayers Principle. — At least, the principle of the conservation of 
energy yet remained to us, and this seemed more solid. Shall I recall 
to you how it was in its turn thrown into discredit? This event has 
made more noise than the preceding, and it is in all the memoirs. 
From the first works of Becquerel, and, above all, when the Curies had 
discovered radium, it was seen that every radioactive body was an inex- 
haustible source of radiation. Its activity seemed to subsist without 
alteration throughout the months and the years. This was in itself a 
strain on the principles ; these radiations were in fact energy, and from 
the same morsel of radium this issued and forever issued. But these 
quantities of energy were too slight to be measured; at least that was 
the belief and we were not much disquieted. 

The scene changed when Curie bethought himself to put radium 
in a calorimeter ; it was then seen that the quantity of heat incessantly 
created was very notable. 

The explanations proposed were numerous; but in such case we 
can not say, ' store is no sore.' In so far as no one of them has pre- 
vailed over the others, we can not be sure there is a good one among 
them. Since some time, however, one of these explanations seems to 
be getting the upper hand and we may reasonably hope that we hold 
the key to the mystery. 

Sir W. Eamsay has striven to show that radium is in process of 
transformation, that it contains a store of energy enormous but not 
inexhaustible. The transformation of radium then would produce a 
million times more heat than all known transformations ; radium would 
wear itself out in 1,250 years ; this is quite short, and you see that we 
are at least certain to have this point settled some hundreds of years 
from now. While waiting, our doubts remain. 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 35* 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 1 
II. What Pragmatism Means 

By Professor WILLIAM JAMEg 

HARVARD UNIVERSITY 

SOME years ago, being with a camping party in the mountains, I 
returned from a solitary ramble to find every one engaged in a 
ferocious metaphysical dispute. The corpus of the dispute was a 
squirrel — a live squirrel supposed to be clinging to one side of a tree- 
trunk; while over against the tree's opposite side a human being was 
imagined to stand. This human witness tries to get sight of the 
squirrel by moving rapidly round the tree, but no matter how fast he 
goes, the squirrel moves as fast in the opposite direction, and always 
keeps the tree between himself and the man, so that never a glimpse of 
him is caught. The resultant metaphysical problem now is this : Does 
the man go round the squirrel or not? He goes round the tree, sure 
enough, and the squirrel is on the tree; but does he go round the 
squirrel? In the unlimited leisure of the wilderness, discussion had 
been worn threadbare. Every one had taken sides, and was obstinate, 
and the numbers on both sides were even. Each side, when I appeared, 
therefore, appealed to me to make it a majority. Mindful of the 
scholastic adage that whenever you meet a contradiction you must 
make a distinction, I immediately sought and found one, as follows: 
" Which party is right," I said, " depends on what you practically mean 
by ' going round ' the squirrel. If you mean passing from the north 
of him to the east, then to the south, then to the west, and then to the 
north of him again, obviously the man does go round him, for he 
occupies these successive positions. But if, on the contrary, you mean 
being first in front of him, then on the right of him, then behind him, 
then on his left, and finally in front again, it is quite as obvious that 
the man fails to go round him, for by the compensating movements the 
squirrel makes, he keeps his belly turned towards the man all the time, 
and his back turned away. Make the distinction, and there is no occa- 
sion for any further dispute. You are both right and both wrong 
according as you conceive the verb ' to go round ' in one way or 
another practical fashion." 

Although one or two of the hotter disputants called my speech a, 

1 The second of a course of eight lectures on ' Pragmatism : A New Name 
for an Old Way of Thinking,' given before the Lowell Institute, Boston, and 
the Departments of Philosophy and Psychology, Columbia University. 



352 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

shuffling evasion, saying they wanted no quibbling or scholastic hair- 
splitting, but meant just plain honest English ' round,' the majority 
seemed to think that the distinction had assuaged the dispute. 

1 tell this trivial anecdote because it is a peculiarly simple example 
of what I wish now to speak of as the pragmatic method. The prag- 
matic method is primarily a method of settling metaphysical disputes 
that otherwise might be interminable. Is the world one or many? — 
fated or free? — material or spiritual? — here are notions either of 
which may or may not hold good of the world; and disputes over such 
notions are unending. The pragmatic method in such cases is to try 
to interpret each notion by tracing its respective practical consequences. 
What difference would it practically make to any one if this notion 
rather than that one were true? If no practical difference whatever 
can be traced, then the alternatives mean practically the same thing, 
and all dispute is idle. Whenever a dispute is serious, we ought to be 
able to show some practical difference that must follow from one side 
or the other's being right. 

A glance at the history of the idea will show you still better what 
pragmatism means. The word is derived from the same Greek term 
npaypia, meaning action, from which our words ' practise ' and ' prac- 
tical ' come. It was first introduced into philosophy by Mr. Charles 
Peirce in 1878. In an article in the Popular Science Monthly 
for that year 2 Mr. Peirce, after pointing out that our beliefs are really 
rules for action, said that, to develop a thought's meaning, we need 
only determine what conduct it is fitted to produce; that conduct is 
for us its sole significance. And the tangible fact at the root of all 
our thought-distinctions, however subtle, is that there is no one of 
them so fine as to consist in anything but a possible difference of prac- 
tise. To attain perfect clearness in our thoughts of an object, then, 
we need only consider what effects of a conceivably practical kind the 
object may involve — what sensations we are to expect from it, and 
what reactions we must prepare. Our conception of these effects, 
whether immediate or remote, is then for us the whole of our concep- 
tion of the object, so far as that conception has positive significance 
at all. 

This is the principle of Peirce, the principle of pragmatism. It lay 
entirely unnoticed by any one for twenty years, until I, in an address 
before Professor Howison's Philosophical Union at the University of 
California, brought it forward again, quoting Peirce, and making a 
certain application of it to religion. By that date (1898) the times 
seemed ripe for its reception. The word ' pragmatism ' spread, and at 
present it fairly spots the pages of the philosophic journals. On all 
hands we find the ' pragmatic movement ' spoken of, sometimes with 
respect, sometimes with contumely, seldom with clear understanding. 

2 January, 1878, * How to Make Our Ideas Clear.' 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 353 

It is evident that the term applies itself conveniently to a number of 
tendencies that hitherto have lacked a collective name, and that it has 
' come to stay.' 

To take in the importance of Peirce's principle, one must get 
accustomed to applying it to concrete cases. I found a few years ago 
that Ostwald, the illustrious Leipzig chemist, had been making perfectly 
distinct use of the principle of pragmatism in his lectures on the 
philosophy of science, though he had not called it by that name. 

" All realities influence our practise," he wrote me, " and that in- 
fluence is their meaning for us. I am accustomed to put questions to 
my classes in this way: In what respects would the world be different 
if this alternative or that were true ? If I can find nothing that would 
become different, then the alternative has no sense." 

That is, the rival views mean practically the same thing, and 
meaning, other than practical, there is for us none. Ostwald in a 
published lecture gives this example of what he means. Chemists have 
long wrangled over the inner constitution of certain bodies called 
' tautomerous.' Their properties seemed equally consistent with the 
notion that an instable hydrogen atom oscillates inside of them, or that 
they are instable mixtures of two bodies. Controversy raged ; but never 
was decided. " It would never have begun," says Ostwald, " if the 
combatants had asked themselves what particular experimental fact 
could have been made different by one or the other view being correct. 
For it would then have appeared that no difference of fact could 
possibly ensue; and the quarrel was as unreal as if, theorizing in old 
times about the raising of dough by yeast, one party should have in- 
voked a ' brownie,' while another insisted on a ' fairy ' as the true cause 
of the phenomenon." 3 

It is astonishing to see how many philosophical disputes collapse 
into insignificance the moment you subject them to this simple test of 
tracing a concrete consequence. There can be no difference anywhere 
that doesn't make a difference elsewhere — no difference in abstract 
truth that doesn't express itself in a difference in concrete fact and in 
conduct consequent upon that fact, imposed on somebody, somehow, 
somewhere and somewhen. The whole function of philosophy ought 
to be to find out what definite difference it will make to you and me, 
at definite instants of our life, if this world-formula or that world- 
formula be the true one. 

8 ' Theorie und Praxis,' Zeitsch. des Oesterreichischen Ingenieur u. Archi- 
tecten-Vereines, 1905, Nr. 4 u. 6. I find a still more radical pragmatism than 
Ostwald's in an address by Professor W. S. Franklin : " I think that the sick- 
liest notion of physics, even if a student gets it, is that it is ' the science of 
masses, molecules and the ether.' And I think that the healthiest notion, even 
if a student does not wholly get it, is that physics is the science of the ways of 
taking hold of bodies and pushing them! " (Soience, January 2, 1903.) 

vol. lxx. — 22. 



354 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

There is absolutely nothing new in the pragmatic method. Socrates 
was an adept at it. Aristotle used it methodically. Locke, Berkeley 
and Hume made momentous contributions to truth by its means. 
Shadworth Hodgson keeps insisting that realities are only what they 
are ' known as.' But these forerunners of pragmatism used it in frag- 
ments. They were a prelude only. Only in our time has it generalized 
itself, become conscious of a universal mission, pretended to a con- 
quering destiny. I believe in that destiny, and I hope I may end by 
inspiring you with my belief. 

Pragmatism represents a perfectly familiar attitude in philosophy, 
the empiricist attitude, but it represents it, as it seems to me, both 
in a more radical, and in a less objectionable form than it has ever 
yet assumed. A pragmatist turns his back resolutely and once for all 
upon a lot of inveterate habits dear to professional philosophers. He 
turns away from abstraction and insufficiency, from verbal solutions, 
from bad a priori reasons, from fixed principles, closed systems, and 
pretended absolutes and origins. He turns towards concreteness and 
adequacy, towards facts, towards action, towards power. That means 
the empiricist temper regnant, and the rationalist temper sincerely 
given up. It means the open air and possibilities of nature, as against 
dogma, artificiality and the pretence of finality in truth. 

At the same time it does not stand for any special results. It is a 
method only. But the general triumph of that method would mean 
an enormous change in what I called in my last lecture the ' tempera- 
ment ' of philosophy. Teachers of the ultra-rationalistic type would 
be frozen out, much as the courtier type is frozen out in republics, as 
the ultramontane type of priest is frozen out in protestant lands. Sci- 
ence and metaphysics would come much nearer together, would in fact 
work absolutely hand in hand. 

Metaphysics has usually followed a very primitive kind of quest. 
You know how men have always hankered after unlawful magic, and 
you know what a great part, in magic, ivords have always played. If 
you have his name, or the formula of incantation that binds him, you 
can control the spirit, genie, afrite, or whatever the power may be. 
Solomon knew the names of all the spirits, and knowing their names, he 
held them subject to his will. So the universe has always appeared 
to the natural mind as a kind of enigma, of which the key must be 
sought in the shape of some illuminating word or some power-bringing 
word or name. That word names the universe's Principle, and to 
possess it is, after a fashion, to possess the universe itself. ' God,' 
' Matter,' ' Reason,' ' the Absolute,' ' Energy,' are so many solving 
names. You can rest when you have them. You are at the end of 
your metaphysical quest. 

But if you follow the pragmatic method, you can not look on any 
such word as closing your quest. You must bring out of each word its 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 355 

practical cash-value, set it at work within the stream of your experi- 
ence. It appears less as a solution, then, than as a program for 
more work. 

Theories thus become instruments, not answers to enigmas, in which 
we can rest. We don't lie back upon them, we move forward by their 
aid. Pragmatism unstiffens all our theories, limbers them up and sets 
each one at work. Being nothing essentially new, it harmonizes with 
many ancient philosophic tendencies. It agrees with nominalism, for 
instance, in always appealing to particulars; with utilitarianism in 
emphasizing practical aspects; with positivism in its disdain for verbal 
solutions, useless questions, and metaphysical abstractions. 

All these, you see, are anti-intellectualist tendencies. Against 
rationalism as a pretension and a method, pragmatism is fully armed 
and militant. But, at the outset, at least, it stands for no par- 
ticular results. It has no dogmas, and no doctrines save its method. 
As the young Italian pragmatist Papini has well said, it lies in the 
midst of our theories, like a corridor in a hotel. Innumerable cham- 
bers open out of it. In one you may find a man writing an atheistic 
volume; in the next, some one on his knees praying for faith and 
strength; in a third a chemist investigating a body's properties. In a 
fourth a system of idealistic metaphysics is being excogitated; in a 
fifth the impossibility of metaphysics is being shown. But they all own 
the corridor, and all must pass through it if they want a practicable 
way of getting into or out of their respective rooms. 

No particular results then, so far, but only an attitude of orienta- 
tion, is what the pragmatic method means. The attitude of looking 
away from first things, principles, ' categories,' supposed necessities ; 
and of looking towards last things, fruits, consequences, facts. 

So much for the pragmatic method ! Meanwhile the word prag- 
matism has come to be used in a still wider sense, as meaning also a 
certain theory of truth. I ask for your redoubled attention here. 
If much remains obscure, I hope to make it clearer in the later lectures. 

One of the most successfully cultivated branches of philosophy in 
our time is what is called inductive logic, the study of the conditions 
under which our sciences have evolved. Writers on this subject have 
begun to show a singular unanimity as to what the laws of nature 
and elements of fact mean, when formulated by mathematicians, 
physicists and chemists. When the first mathematical, logical and 
natural uniformities, the first laws, were discovered, men were so 
carried away by the clearness, beauty and simplification that resulted, 
that they believed themselves to have deciphered authentically the 
eternal thoughts of the Almighty. His mind also reverberated in 
syllogisms. He also thought in conic sections, squares and roots, and 
ratios, and geometrized like Euclid. He made Kepler's laws for the 



356 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

planets to follow; he made velocity increase proportionally to the time 
in falling bodies ; he made the laws of the sines for light to obey when 
refracted; he established the classes, orders, families and genera of 
plants and animals, and fixed the distances between them. He thought 
the archetypes of all things, and devised their variations; and when we 
re-discover any one of these his wondrous institutions, we seize his mind 
in its very literal intention. 

But as the sciences have developed farther, the notion has gained 
ground that most, perhaps all, of our laws are only approximations. 
The laws themselves, moreover, have grown so numerous that there is 
no counting them; and so many rival formulations are proposed in all 
the branches of science that investigators have become accustomed to 
the notion that no theory is absolutely a transcript of reality, but 
that any one of them may from some point of view be useful. Their 
great use is to summarize old facts and to lead to new ones. They 
are only a man-made language, a conceptual shorthand, as Pearson 
calls them, in which we write our reports of nature; and languages, as 
is well known, tolerate much choice of expression and many dialects. 

Thus human arbitrariness has driven divine necessity from scien- 
tific logic. If I mention the names of Sigwart, Mach, Ostwald, Pear- 
son, Milhaud, Poincare, Duhem, Heymans, those of you who are stu- 
dents will easily identify the tendency I speak of, and will think of 
additional names. 

Hiding now on the front of this wave of scientific logic Messrs. 
Schiller and Dewey appear with their pragmatistic account of what 
truth everywhere signifies. Everywhere, these men say, ' truth ' in 
our ideas and beliefs means the same thing that it means in science. 
It means, they suggest, nothing but this, that ideas become true just in 
so far as they help us to get into satisfactory relation with the other 
parts of our experience, to synthesize and summarize facts and other 
ideas, and get about among them by conceptual short-cuts instead of 
following the interminable labyrinth of particular phenomena as they 
succeed one another. Any idea upon which we can ride, so to speak; 
any idea that will carry us prosperously from any one part of our 
experience to any other part; linking things satisfactorily, working 
securely, simplifying, saving labor, is true for just so much, true in so 
far forth, true instrumentally. This is the ' instrumental ' view of 
truth taught so successfully at Chicago, the view that truth means the 
power of our ideas to ' work,' promulgated so brilliantly at Oxford. 

Messrs. Dewey, Schiller and their allies, in reaching this general 
notion of all truth, have only followed the example of geologists, 
biologists and philologists. In the establishment of these other sci- 
ences, the successful stroke was always to take some simple process 
actually observable in operation — as denudation by weather, say, or 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 357 

variation from parental type, or change of dialect by incorporation of 
new words and pronunciations — and then to generalize it, to make it 
apply to all times, and produce great results by summating its effects 
through ages. 

The process which Schiller and Dewey particularly singled out for 
generalization is the familiar one by which any individual settles into 
new opinions. The process here is always the same. The individual 
has a stock of old opinions already, but he meets a new experience that 
puts them to a strain. Somebody contradicts them; or in a reflective 
moment he discovers that they contradict each other; or he hears of 
facts with which they are incompatible; or desires arise in him which 
they cease to satisfy. The result is an inward trouble to which his 
mind till then had been a stranger, and from which he seeks to escape 
by modifying his previous mass of opinions. He saves as much of it 
as he can, for in this matter of belief we are all extreme conservatives. 
So he tries to change first this opinion, and then that (for they resist 
change very variously), until at last some new idea comes up which 
he can graft upon the ancient stock with a minimum of disturbance of 
the latter, some idea that mediates between the stock and the new 
experience and runs them into one another most felicitously and ex- 
pediently. 

This new idea is then adopted as the true one. It preserves 
the older stock of truths with a minimum of modification, stretching 
them just enough to make them admit the novelty and conceiving 
that in ways as familiar as the case leaves possible. An outree ex- 
planation, violating all our preconceptions, would never pass for a 
true account of a novelty. We should scratch round industriously till 
we found something less excentric. The most violent revolutions in an 
individual's beliefs leave most of his old order standing. Time and 
space, cause and effect, nature and history, and one's own biography 
remain untouched. New truth is always a go-between, a smoother-over 
of transitions. It marries old opinion to new fact so as ever to show 
a minimum of jolt, a maximum of continuity. We hold a theory true 
just in proportion to its success in solving this ' problem of maxima 
and minima.' But success in solving this problem is eminently a 
matter of approximation. We say this theory solves it on the whole 
more satisfactorily than that theory ; but that means more satisfactorily 
to ourselves, and individuals will emphasize their points of satisfaction 
differently. To a certain degree, therefore, everything here is plastic. 

The point I now urge you to observe particularly is the part played 
by the older truths. Failure to take account of it is the source of many 
of the unjust criticisms leveled against pragmatism. The influence of 
elder truths is absolutely controlling. Loyalty to them is the first 
principle — in most cases it is the only principle. The most usual way 
of handling phenomena so novel that they would make for a serious 



358 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

rearrangement of our preconceptions is to ignore them altogether, or 
to abuse those who bear witness for them. 

You doubtless wish examples of this process of truth's growth, and 
the onlv trouble is their superabundance. The simplest case of new 
truth is jf course the mere numerical addition of new kinds of fact, 
or of new facts of old kinds, to our experience — an addition that in- 
volves no alteration in the old beliefs. Day follows day, and its con- 
tents are simply added. The new contents themselves are not true, 
they simply come and are. Truth is what we say about them, and 
when we say that they have come, truth is satisfied by the plain additive 
formula. 

But often the day's contents oblige a rearrangement. If I should 
now ntter piercing shrieks and act like a maniac on this platform, it 
would make many of you revise your ideas as to the probable worth of 
my philosophy. ' Eadium ' came the other day as part of the day's 
content, and seemed for a moment to contradict our ideas of the whole 
order of nature, that order having come to be identified with what is 
called the conservation of energy. The mere sight of radium pay- 
ing heat away indefinitely out of its own pocket, seemed to violate that 
conservation. What to think? If the radiations from it were nothing 
but an escape of unsuspected ' potential ' energy, preexistent inside 
the atoms, the principle of conservation would be saved. The dis- 
covery of ' helium ' as the radiation's outcome, opened a way to this 
belief. So Ramsay's view is generally held to be true, because, 
although it extends our old ideas of energy, it causes a minimum of 
alteration in their nature. 

I need not multiply instances. A new opinion counts as ' true ' 
just in proportion as it gratifies the individual's desire to assimilate the 
novel in his experience to his beliefs-in-stock. It must both lean on 
old truth and grasp new fact; and its success (as I said a moment ago), 
in doing this, is a matter for the individual's appreciation. When 
old truth grows, then, by new truth's addition, it is for subjective 
reasons. We are in the process and obey the reasons. That new idea 
is truest which performs most felicitously its function of satisfying our 
double urgency. It makes itself true, gets itself classed as true, by the 
way it works; grafting itself then upon the ancient body of truth, 
which grows, thus, much as a tree grows by the activity of a new layer 
of cambium. 

Now Dewey and Schiller proceed to generalize this observation and 
to apply it to the most ancient parts of truth. They also once were 
plastic. They also were called true for human reasons. They also 
mediated between still earlier truths and what in those days were novel 
observations. Purely objective truth, truth in whose establishment 
the function of giving human satisfaction in marrying one part of 
experience with another played no part whatever, is nowhere to be 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 359 

found. The reason why we call things true is the reason why they 
are true, for ' to be true ' means only to perform this marriage 
function. 

The trail of the human serpent is thus over everything. Truth 
independent; truth that we find merely; truth no longer malleable to 
human need; truth incorrigible, in a word; such truth exists indeed 
superabundantly — or is supposed to exist by rationalistic-minded think- 
ers. But that means only the dead heart of the living tree, it means 
only that truth also has its paleontology, and may grow stiff with years 
of veteran service and petrified in men's regard by sheer antiquity. 
How plastic even the oldest truths still really are has been vividly 
shown in our day by the transformation of logical and mathematical 
ideas, a transformation which seems even to be invading physics. The 
ancient formulas are reinterpreted as special expressions of much wider 
principles, principles that our ancestors never got a glimpse of in their 
present formulation. 

Mr. Schiller gives to all this view of truth the name of ' Human- 
ism,' but, for this doctrine too, the name of pragmatism seems to be in 
the ascendant, not only in America but on the European continent, so 
I must treat it also in these lectures. 4 

Such then would be the scope of pragmatism — a method and a 
genetic theory of what is meant by truth. And these two things must 
be our future topics. 

What I have said of the theory of truth will, I am sure, have ap- 
peared obscure and unsatisfactory to most of you by reason of its 
brevity. You may not follow me wholly in this preliminary lecture; 
and if you do, you may not wholly agree with me. But you will, I 
know, already regard me at least as serious, and treat my effort with 
respectful consideration. 

You will probably be surprised to learn, then, that Messrs. Schiller's 
and Dewey's theories have suffered a hailstorm of contempt and ridi- 
cule. All rationalism has risen against them. In influential quarters 
Mr. Schiller, in particular, has been treated like an impudent school- 
boy who deserved a spanking. I shouldn't mention this, but for the 
fact that it throws so much side-light upon that rationalistic temper to 
which I have opposed the temper of pragmatism. Pragmatism is un- 
comfortable away from facts. Eationalisni is comfortable only in the 
presence of abstractions. This pragmatist talk about truths in the 
plural, about their utility and satisfactoriness, about the success with 
which they ' work,' etc., suggests to the typical intellectualist mind a 
sort of coarse lame makeshift article of truth. Such truths are not real 



* Even while I correct the proof I receive Mr. Schiller's new volume, 
' Studies in Humanism,' N. Y. The Macmillan Company, pp. 492. The title 



shows that Mr. Schiller still clings to his term. 



360 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

truth. Such tests are merely subjective. As against this, objective 
truth must be something non-utilitarian, haughty, refined, remote, 
august, exalted. It must be an absolute correspondence of our thoughts 
with an equally absolute reality. It must be what we ought to think, 
unconditionally. The ways in which we do think are so much 
irrelevance and matter for psychology. Down with psychology, up 
with logic, in all this question ! 

See the exquisite contrast of the types of mind ! The pragmatist 
clings to facts and concreteness, observes truth at its work in par- 
ticular cases, and generalizes. Truth, for him, becomes a class-name 
for definite working values in experience. For the rationalist it re- 
mains a pure abstraction, to the bare name of which we must defer. 
When the pragmatist undertakes to show in detail just why we must 
defer, the rationalist is unable to recognize the concretes from which 
his own abstraction is taken. He accuses us of denying truth, whereas 
we have only sought to trace exactly why people follow it and always 
ought to follow it. Your typical ultra-abstractionist fairly shudders 
at concreteness. Other things equal, he positively prefers the pale and 
spectral. If the two universes were offered, he would always choose 
the skinny outline rather than the rich thicket of reality. It is so much 
purer, clearer, nobler. 

I hope that as these lectures go on, the concreteness and closeness 
to facts of the pragmatism which they advocate may be what approves 
itself to you as its most satisfactory peculiarity. It only follows here 
the example of the sister sciences, interpreting the unobserved by the 
observed. It brings old and new harmoniously together. It converts 
the absolutely empty notion of a bare static relation of ' correspond- 
ence' (whatever that may mean) between our minds and reality, into 
that of a rich and active commerce, that any one may follow in detail 
and understand, between particular thoughts of ours, and the great 
universe of other experiences in which they play their parts and have 
their uses. 

But enough of this at present? The justification of what I say 
must be postponed. I wish now to add a word in further explanation 
of the claim I made at our last meeting, that pragmatism may be a 
happy harmonizer of empiricist ways of thinking, with the more reli- 
gious demands of human beings. 

Men who are strongly of the fact-loving temperament, you may 
remember me to have said, are liable to be kept at a distance by the 
unsympathetic tone of the philosophy which present-day idealism 
offers them. It is too intellectualistic for them. Old-fashioned dual- 
istic theism was bad enough, with its notion of God as an exalted 
monarch, made up of a lot of unintelligible or preposterous ' attri- 
butes'; but, so long as it held strongly by the argument from design, 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 361 

it kept some touch with concrete realities. Since, however, Darwinism 
has once for all displaced design from the minds of the ' scientific,' 
theism has lost that foothold; and some kind of an immanent or 
pantheistic deity working in things rather than above them is, if any, 
the kind desired by our contemporary imagination. Aspirants to a 
philosophic religion turn, as a rule, more hopefully nowadays towards 
idealistic pantheism than towards the older dualistic theism, in spite 
of the fact that the latter still counts able defenders. 

But, as I said in my first lecture, the brand of pantheism offered 
is hard for them to assimilate if they are lovers of facts, or empirically 
minded. It is the absolutistic brand, spurning the dust and reared 
upon pure logic. It keeps no connection whatever with concreteness. 
Affirming the Absolute Mind, which is its substitute for God, to be the 
rational presupposition of all particulars of fact, whatever they may 
be, it remains supremely indifferent to what the particular facts in our 
world actually are. Be they what they may, the Absolute will father 
them. Like the sick lion in Esop's fable, all footprints lead into his 
den, but nulla vestigia retrorsum. You can not redescend into the 
world of particulars by the Absolute's aid, or .deduce any necessary 
consequences of detail, important for your life, from your idea of his 
nature. He gives you, indeed, the assurance that all is well with Him, 
and for his eternal way of thinking; but thereupon he leaves you to 
be finitely saved by your own temporal devices. 

Far be it from me to deny the majesty of this conception, or its 
capacity to yield religious comfort to a most respectable class of minds. 
But from the human point of view, no one can pretend that it doesn't 
suffer from the faults of remoteness and abstractness. It is eminently 
a product of what I have ventured to call the rationalistic temper. It 
disdains empiricism's needs. It substitutes a pallid outline for the real 
world's richness. It is dapper ; it is ' noble ' in the bad sense, in the 
sense in which to be noble is to be inapt for humble service. In this 
real world of sweat and dirt, it seems to me that when a view of things 
is ' noble,' that ought to count as a presumption against its truth, and 
as a philosophic disqualification. The prince of darkness may be a 
gentleman, as we are told he is, but whatever the God of earth and 
Heaven is, He can surely be no gentleman. His menial services are 
needed in the dust of our human trials, even.more than his dignity is 
needed in the empyrean. 

Now pragmatism, devoted though she be to facts, has no such 
materialistic bias as ordinary empiricism labors under. Moreover, she 
has no objection whatever to the realizing of abstractions, so long as 
you get about with their aid among particulars, and they actually 
carry you somewhere. Interested in no conclusions but those which 
our minds and our experiences work out together, she has no a priori 
prejudices against theology. If theological ideas prove to have a 



362 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

working value for concrete life, they will be true, for pragmatism, in 
the sense of being good for so much. For how much more they are 
good, will depend on their relations to the other truths acknowledged. 

What I said just now about the Absolute of transcendental idealism 
is a case in point. First, I called it majestic and said it yielded reli- 
gious comfort to a class of minds, and then I accused it of remoteness 
and sterility. But so far as it affords such comfort, it surely is not 
sterile; it has that amount of cash value; it performs a concrete 
function. As a good pragmatist, I ought myself to call the Absolute 
true ' in so far forth,' then ; and I unhesitatingly now do so. 

But what does ' true in so far forth,' ' true for so much,' mean in 
this case? To answer, we need only apply the pragmatic method. 
What do believers in the Absolute mean by saying that their belief 
affords them comfort? They mean that since in the Absolute finite 
evil is ' overruled ' already, we may, therefore, whenever we wish, treat 
the temporal as if it were potentially the eternal, be sure that we can 
trust its outcome, and without sin dismiss our fear and drop the worry 
of our finite responsibility. In short, they mean that we have a right 
ever and anon to take a moral holiday, to let the world wag in its own 
way, feeling that its issues are in better hands than ours and are none 
of our immediate business. 

The universe is a system of which the individual members may 
relax their anxieties occasionally, in which the don't-care mood is also 
right for men, and moral holidays in order — that, if I mistake not, is 
part, at least, of what the Absolute is ' known as,' that is the great dif- 
ference in our particular experiences which his being true makes for us, 
that is his cash value when he is pragmatically interpreted. Farther 
than that the ordinary lay-reader in philosophy who thinks favorably 
of absolute idealism does not venture to sharpen his conceptions. He 
can use the Absolute for so much, and so much is very precious. He 
is pained at hearing you speak incredulously of the Absolute, there- 
fore, and disregards your criticisms because they deal with aspects of 
the conception that he does not follow. 

If the Absolute means this, and means no more than this, who can 
possibly deny the truth of it? To deny it would be to insist that men 
should never relax, and that holidays are never in order. 

I am well aware how odd it must seem to some of you to hear me 
say that an idea is ' true ' so long as to believe it is profitable to our 
lives. That it is good, for as much as it profits, you will gladly admit. 
If what we do by its aid is good, the idea itself is good in so far 
forth, for we are the better for possessing it. But is it not a strange 
misuse of the word ' truth ' to call ideas also ' true ' for this reason ? 

To answer this difficulty fully is impossible at this stage of my 
account. You touch here upon the very central point of Messrs. 



A DEFENCE OF PRAGMATISM 363 

Schiller's, Dewey's and my own doctrine of truth, which I can not 
discuss with detail until my sixth lecture. 5 Let me now say only this, 
that truth is one species of good, and not, as is usually supposed, a 
category distinct from good, and coordinate with it. The true is the 
name of whatever proves itself to be good in the way of belief, and 
good, moreover, for definite practical reasons. Surely you must admit 
this, that if there were no value for life in true ideas, or if the knowl- 
edge of them were positively disadvantageous and false ideas the only 
useful ones, then the current notion that truth is divine and precious, 
and its pursuit a duty, would never have grown up or become a dogma. 
In a world like that, the duty would be to shun truth, rather. But in 
this world, just as certain foods are not only agreeable to our taste, 
but good for our teeth, our stomach and our tissues ; so certain ideas 
are not only agreeable to think about, or agreeable as supporting other 
ideas that we are fond of, but they are also helpful in life's practical 
struggles. If there be any life that it is really better we should lead, 
and if there be any idea which, if believed in, would help us to lead 
that life, then it would be really better for its to believe in that idea — 
unless, indeed, belief in it incidentally clashed with other greater vital 
benefits. 

' What it would be best that we should believe ' ! This sounds very 
like a definition of truth. It comes very near to saying ' what we 
ought to believe/ and in that definition of truth none of you would 
find any oddity. Ought we ever to believe what it is not better for us 
to believe? And can we then keep the notion of what is better for us, 
and what is true for us, permanently apart ? 

Pragmatism says no, and I fully agree with her. Probably you 
also agree, so far as the abstract statement goes, but with a suspicion 
that if we practically did believe everything that made for good in our 
own personal lives, we should be found indulging all kinds of foolish 
fancies about this world's affairs, and all kinds of sentimental super- 
stitions about a world hereafter. Evidently something does happen, 
when you pass from the abstract to the concrete, that complicates the 
situation. 

I said just now that what it is best that we should believe is true 
unless the belief incidentally clashes with some other vital benefit. Now 
in real life what vital benefits is any particular belief of ours most liable 
to clash with? What indeed except the vital benefits yielded by other 
beliefs when these prove incompatible with the first ones? In other 
words, the greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest 
of our truths. Truths have once for all this desperate instinct of self- 
preservation and of desire to extinguish whatever contradicts them. 
Grant that the Absolute may be true in giving me a moral holiday. 
Nevertheless, as I conceive it (and I proceed to speak, now not as an 

That sixth lecture will soon appear in the Journal of Philosophy, Psy- 
chology and Scientific Methods. 



364 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

abstract pragmatist, but merely in my own private person), it clashes 
with other truths of mine whose benefits I hate to give up on its account. 
It is associated with a kind of logic of which I am the enemy; it en- 
tangles me in metaphysical paradoxes that are unacceptable, etc., etc. 
But I have enough trouble in life already without the added trouble of 
carrying these intellectual inconsistencies, so I give up the Absolute. 
Personally, I just take my moral holidays; or else as a professional 
philosopher, I try to justify them by some other principle. 

If I could restrict my notion of the Absolute to its bare holiday- 
giving value, it wouldn't clash with my other truths. But we can not 
easily thus restrict our hypotheses. They carry supernumerary 
features, and these it is that clash so. My disbelief in the Absolute 
means disbelief in those other supernumerary features. 

You see by this what I meant when I called pragmatism a mediator 
and reconciler and said that she ' unstiffens ' our theories. 6 She has 
in fact no prejudices whatever, no obstructive dogmas, no rigid canons 
of what shall count as proof. She is completely genial. She will 
entertain any hypothesis, she will consider any evidence. It follows 
that in the religious field she is at a great advantage both over posi- 
tivistic empiricism, with its anti-theological bias, and over religious 
rationalism with its exclusive interest in the remote, the noble and the 
abstract in the way of conception. 

In short, she widens the field of search for God. Eationalism sticks 
to logic and the empyrean. Empiricism sticks to the external senses. 
Pragmatism for her part is willing to take anything, to follow either 
logic or the senses, and to count the humblest and most personal ex- 
periences. She will count mystical experiences if they have practical 
consequences. She will take a God who lives in the very dirt of private 
fact — if that should seem a likely place to find him. 

Her only test of probable truth is what works best in the way of 
leading us, what fits every part of life best and combines with the 
collectivity of experience, nothing being omitted. If theological ideas 
should do this, if the notion of God, in particular, should prove to do 
it, how could pragmatism possibly deny God's existence? She could 
see no meaning in treating as ' not true ' a notion that was prag- 
matically so successful. You see how democratic she is. Her manners 
are as various and flexible, her resources as rich and endless, and her 
conclusions as obedient and malleable as those of mother nature. 
* I get this word from Papini (Leonardo, Aprile, 1905). 



CIVOLOGY— A SUGGESTION 365 



CIVOLOGY— A SUGGESTION 

By professor lindley m. keasbey 

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS 

SO far civilization — Johnson ' abominated ' the word and suggested 
' civility ' instead — has been considered philosophically, described 
historically, viewed esthetically and computed statistically. I say ' so 
far/ and I may add ' so good,' for by these disciplines the phenomena 
in question have been arrayed under their vicarious aspects with illu- 
minating, impressive, interesting and significant results. Hence we 
have systems, narratives, tales and tables, all of which are well enough 
in their respective ways. As a whole, however — if one can consider 
them collectively — these systems, narratives, tales and tables lack con- 
tinuity. Coordination is required, so, it seems to me, civilization 
should be subjected to scientific research. Ours is the age of science, 
we affirm; certainly each century has contributed its quota. To the 
credit of the nineteenth belongs biology, which has succeeded in co- 
ordinating the phenomena of life ; it is the task of the twentieth, I take 
it, to coordinate the phenomena of civilization and afford us the science 
of, Civology, shall I say? 

But why, you ask, is a new science necessary? Civilization is the 
work of man and anthropology, the science of man, is already estab- 
lished. Beavers build dams, but there's not one science of beavers and 
another of their dams, why, then, one science of man and another of his 
works? If men established civilizations by instinct, as beavers build 
dams, and the same sorts of civilizations from generation to generation, 
with only such changes as are effected through selection, there would 
be no necessity of a separate science, but such is not the case. Civiliza- 
tion is not instinctive and conservative, it is purposive and progressive. 
So there is something in the distinction Spencer sought to establish 
between organic and super-organic phenomena. Man himself is an 
organic phenomenon, his works, however, are super-organic — to be 
sure, they proceed, as Spencer said, by insensible steps out of the 
organic, even as organic phenomena proceed by insensible steps out of 
the inorganic, still for this very reason they are super-organic. Since 
such is the case, manifestly man and his works can not be included 
within one science ; there must be two sciences, one of man, and another 
of his works. It is of no avail — in fact it only mixes matters the 
more — to divide anthropology into two parts: physical anthropology, 
which purports to deal with man himself, and cultural anthropology. 



366 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

which sets out to consider his works. Inasmuch as man is an organic 
phenomenon, anthropology, the science of man — like botany, the science 
of plants, and zoology, the science of animals — is properly speaking a 
branch of biology, the general science of all organic phenomena. Call 
this physical anthropology if you prefer — though the adjective seems 
to me superfluous — but pause and consider before you speak of cultural 
anthropology. The adjective in this case is incongruous; cultural in- 
cludes man's works, which are confessedly super-organic. Now there 
may be no principles capable of coordinating these super-organic phe- 
nomena — if so there can be no such thing as a science of civilization — 
but simply because these principles are still unknown, or unknowable, 
if you like, is no reason why other known principles should be accepted 
to serve their stead. You can not coordinate organic phenomena under 
inorganic categories, why should you expect to coordinate super-organic 
phenomena under organic categories? But this is precisely what is 
proposed by the incongruous combination : cultural anthropology — the 
science itself is organic, its subject-matter is super-organic. 

Congruity requires that the new science shall be super-organic to 
correspond with its subject-matter. But there is such a science, you 
say, sociology, which claims to be the science of super-organic phe- 
nomena. If ' social ' and ' super-organic ' were synonymous, as 
Spencer supposed, the claim would be justified, but they're not, and 
no amount of argument or assumption can make them so. To go no 
further for the moment, it is evident enough man's works are indi- 
vidual and familial as well as social; then too, from another point of 
view, some of man's works are economic, others esthetic, and so on, all 
of which are included within the broader concept ' civilization,' but not 
necessarily within the narrower concept ' society.' Thus though soci- 
ology is, logically at least, a science of super-organic phenomena, it is 
certainly not the science of super-organic phenomena, since it does not, 
and can not be made to coordinate the subject-matter in question. All 
organic phenomena are coordinated under the general science of biology, 
perhaps some day all super-organic phenomena will be coordinated under 
the general science of civology. If so, sociology will constitute one of 
the subsidiary sciences of civology, even as morphology constitutes one 
of the subsidiary sciences of biology. Till then the so-called science 
should be classed among the above-mentioned ' systems.' Even as such 
— if I may add a word by way of criticism — it is not a striking suc- 
cess — to quote from a recent writer : " In regard to the fundamental 
principles of sociology, the confusion is hopeless. The student will 
search in vain in the systematic treatises on sociology for any definite 
body of established doctrine which he can accept as the ground prin- 
ciples of the science. He finds only an unmanageable mass of con- 
flicting theories and opinions. Each treatise contains an exposition 



CIVOLOGY—A SUGGESTION 367 

of what the author is pleased to label the ' Principles of Sociology.' But 
the ' Principles ' are not the same in any two treatises ; and by no 
process of analysis and synthesis can they be brought into harmony. 
They are fundamentally contradictory. It is impossible, I believe, to 
discover a single alleged ground-principle of sociology that has com- 
manded general assent." 1 If so, well may Gabriel Tarde advise his 
fellow sociologists : " Instead of discoursing upon the merits of this 
infant sociology — which men have had the art to baptize before its 
birth — let us succeed, if possible, in bringing it forth." 

Setting aside cultural anthropology as inadequate and sociology as 
insufficient, I revert to the necessity of a new science. As to its name, 
it is premature, perhaps, to baptize this infant also before its birth, but 
I may at least be allowed to suggest Civology. I do so for consistency's 
sake; life is organic, civilization is super-organic, the organic science 
of life is called biology, the super-organic science of civilization should 
be called civology. I assume, you see, that civilization and super- 
organic are synonymous, and rightly, I think; certainly all civil phe- 
nomena are super-organic, the only question is : are all super-organic 
phenomena civil? They are essentially so, I should say, and, in any 
event, civilization is such a flexible term it may very well, far better, in 
fact, than any other, be extended so as to include all the phenomena 
in question. But enough of the name, now for the substance of the new 
science. Its subject-matter is super-organic; so much is established. 
The next step is to formulate fundamental principles capable of 
coordinating super-organic phenomena — an exceedingly long step. 
Indeed it is, so long, I fear I shall be obliged to jump at conclusions. 
Fortunately the path is well paved to this point, and beyond the general 
direction of advance is defined. So far science exhibits an orderly 
processus of phenomena, with the result that organic phenomena have 
been shown to proceed by insensible steps out of the inorganic. I 
assume simply that such consistency continues to the end, with the 
result that super-organic phenomena proceed by insensible steps out of 
the organic. If so, civology stands in the same relation to biology that 
biology stands to physics and chemistry. The fundamental principles 
of biology are subsequent to and consistent with the fundamental prin- 
ciples of its antecedent sciences, physics and chemistry ; accordingly, the 
fundamental principles of civology should be subsequent to and con- 
sistent with the fundamental principles of its antecedent science, 
biology. Before taking the step — or making the leap, if you like — it 
will be best, then, to go back a bit, and, passing the line of organic 
evolution in review, run over the fundamental principles of biology. 

Organic evolution is characterized by countless variations, accord- 
ing to which the manifold forms of life can be classified under more 

1 F. Spencer Baldwin, ' Sociology,' Popular Science Monthly, LV., p. 817. 



368 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

or less definite categories — kingdoms, sub-kingdoms, classes, orders, 
families, genera, species and varieties, with many intermediate divi- 
sions — and arranged in an ascending series culminating, as we view it, 
in man. The extrinsic cause, or perhaps I should say the condition, of 
these variations is environment. The intrinsic cause is the physio- 
logical principle of variability, or mutability, by which biologists mean 
the susceptibility to modification inherent in organic life, 'that plas- 
ticity or modifiability of any organism in virtue of which an animal or 
a plant may change in form, structure, function, size, color, or other 
character, lose some character or acquire another, and thus deviate from 
its parent form.' This tendency of all organisms to become unlike 
their parents is, as I say, in first instance an intrinsic quality, and, 
like other natural attributes, transmissible from generation to genera- 
tion. But though originally instrinsic, variability is only called into 
play by extrinsic conditions. As a result, organic variations are the 
outcome of an interaction between intrinsic and extrinsic factors, 
variability and environment. Looking along the line of organic evolu- 
tion, the general tendency appears to be toward the preservation of the 
more useful and the extinction of the less useful or useless characters. 
This is due, in first instance, to adaptation, and then to the fact that 
selection in one form or another has been operative all along the line, 
eliminating the unfit or ill-adapted from the struggle for existence and 
allowing only the fittest or best adapted to survive. Selection acts ac- 
cordingly as the regulative factor of organic evolution — so in last 
analysis variations become " the accomplishment of that which vari- 
ability permits, environment requires, and selection directs." To be 
noted also is the fact that variability, or the tendency to vary under 
environmental conditions, is counteracted to a considerable extent by 
heredity, or the tendency to breed true, the former being the pro- 
gressive, the latter the conservative, principle of organic evolution. 

Man himself is an animal, the final product, apparently, of organic 
evolution. Classified biologically he belongs to the sub-kingdom : Ver- 
tcbrata, class: Mammalia, order: Primates, sub-order: Anthropoidea, 
family: Hominidae, which family constitutes one genus and a single 
species. In the course of its evolution this single species has, however, 
become further differentiated into at least four sub-species, which con- 
stitute the great races of man — and these in turn into a great number 
of ethnic varieties. Arranged in an ascending series, we rank the 
Negro, or Black race, lowest ; next the American, or Eed race ; then the 
Mongolic, or Yellow race, and finally the Caucasic, or White race. 
Within this last we take the Anglo-Saxons to represent the highest 
ethnic type — though this is more or less arbitrary, depending upon the 
point of view. But whatever the order of arrangement, there can be 
no doubt of this: these several races and numerous varieties of man- 



CIVOLOGY—A SUGGESTION 369 

kind represent so many organic variations of the human species, 
effected through the interaction of variability and environment, and 
established by adaptation and selection. Now each of these races and 
every variety of the human species has contributed something to the 
sum total of civilization. So it seems, in man's case, the line of organic 
evolution is succeeded and supplemented by a line of super-organic 
development. And as the line of organic evolution is characterized by 
countless variations culminating in the several races and numerous 
varieties of man, even so is the line of super-organic development char- 
acterized by successive states of civilization, established by the several 
races and numerous varieties of man. These states of civilization like- 
wise can be classified according to their complexity and arranged in an 
ascending series, culminating, if you like, in the existing civilization 
of the Anglo-Saxons — though this again is a matter of opinion, or 
prejudice perhaps. But whatever the order of their arrangement, of 
this I am quite convinced: these states of civilization connote in last 
analysis so many systems of utilization. My concept of the subject 
may seem somewhat restricted, but I assure you it will expand as we 
proceed, meanwhile I ask you only to accept the connotation provi- 
sionally, as a possible point of departure. 

This at least is obvious : in order to live and move and have their 
being — to say nothing of meliorating their material condition — human 
beings are obliged to utilize the resources at their disposal. The man- 
ners in which and the means and methods whereby they do so are 
determined by the circumstances — physical, social and historical — 
within which they strive. Circumstance constitutes, accordingly, the 
extrinsic cause or condition of utilization. The intrinsic cause in this 
case is the psychological principle of utility, which is the quality of 
satisfying wants — an elusive and very variable quality, to be sure, none 
the less appreciable for all that. All men seek to satisfy their wants, 
therefore all men may be said to strive after utility. The quality in 
question supplies, as it were, the stimulus, the incentive, or better per- 
haps, the motive that makes for utilization. So I should say utility 
constitutes the progressive principle of super-organic development, even 
as variability constitutes the progressive principle of organic evolution. 
To acquire such utility and so satisfy their wants, men, as I have said, 
must utilize the resources at their disposal, in the manner and by the 
means and methods most in accordance with their circumstances. So 
it appears super-organic systems of utilization are, like organic varia- 
tions, the outcome of an interaction between intrinsic and extrinsic 
factors, utility and circumstance in this case. Looking along the line 
of super-organic development, the general tendency appears to be 
toward the augmentation of utility accompanied by increasing com- 
plexity in the process of utilization. This is due to the expansion of 

vol. lxx. — 23. 



37Q POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

human wants, the satisfaction of one usually causing another to emerge 
in the mind, and so on indefinitely. Circumstances conscribe and 
restrict such expansion always and everywhere; so, not being able to 
satisfy all their wants at once, men are compelled to choose between 
the satisfaction of one and the satisfaction of another. Such choice 
is effected through evaluation, which comes in last analysis to this: in 
every set of circumstances each man asks himself, ' to the satisfaction 
of which of my many wants do I attach the most immediate im- 
portance ? which, in a word, is most worth while ? ' and having decided, 
proceeds to utilize his resources accordingly. The same is true in a 
more general way of peoples and races; as a result of a long series of 
evaluations, groups as well as individuals establish their standards in 
accordance with their physical, social and historical circumstances. So 
I should say : evaluation constitutes the regulative factor of snper- 
organic development. If so, utilization becomes in last analysis the 
accomplishment of that which utility suggests, circumstances allow and 
evaluation controls. A word in conclusion: because of the expansion 
of human wants, utility constitutes the progressive principle of super- 
organic development, but utility is counteracted to a considerable ex- 
tent by imitation, the disposition to accept traditionally established 
standards and utilize in accordance with custom and convention instead 
of circumstance — imitation constitutes accordingly the conservative 
principle of super-organic development. 

Before stepping over from the formulated organic into the unfor- 
mulated super-organic, in order to indicate the direction and measure 
the distance I said: the fundamental principles of civology should be 
subsequent to and consistent with the fundamental principles of its 
antecedent science, biology. Having taken the step — or made the leap, 
if you like — let us look about us and see where we have landed. In 
the first place, are the super-organic principles suggested consistent 
with the organic principles already established? They seem to me so 
■ — I appeal to comparison. Biology has succeeded in coordinating the 
phenomena of life; the task I set civology was to coordinate the phe- 
nomena of civilization. The phenomena of life are organic, the phe- 
nomena of civilization are super-organic. The former, that is the 
phenomena of life, present themselves to science as variations; the 
latter, that is the phenomena of civilization, should, I say, present 
themselves to science as systems of utilization. Organic variations are 
conceived of by biology as the accomplishment of that which variability 
permits, environment requires, and selection directs; so, it seems to 
me, super-organic systems of utilization should be conceived of by 
civology as the accomplishment of that which utility suggests, circum- 
stance allows and evaluation controls. The parallelism between the 
two processes is apparent : Both proceed from intrinsic principles which 



CIV0L0G1—A SUGGESTION 371 

are progressive in character — the organic process from the principle of 
variability, the super-organic process from the principle of utility. In 
each case the progressive action of these intrinsic principles is con- 
scribed and restricted by extrinsic conditions — variability by environ- 
mental conditions, utility by circumstantial conditions. In each case 
also the interaction of intrinsic principles and extrinsic conditions is 
directed and controlled by factors which are neither intrinsic'' nor 
extrinsic, but rather intermediate in character — the interaction of 
variability and environment by selection, the interaction of utility and 
circumstance by evaluation. Finally, both processes are arrested and 
established to some extent by the influence of other intrinsic principles 
that are conservative in character, the organic process by heredity, the 
super-organic process by imitation. But enough of this, a parallelism 
pushed too far comes dangerously near an analogy. In another paper 
I shall endeavor to show in what sense the suggested principles of 
super-organic development are subsequent to the known principles of 
organic evolution. 



37^ 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 



THE RECLAMATION OF THE NORTH PLATTE VALLEY 



BY W. S. COULTER, 
ASSISTANT ENGINEER, U. S. K. S. 



n "^HE North Platte River rises in the semi-arid region of the North 
-*- Park Mountains in Colorado and flows into Wyoming, its course 
through the latter state describing a rough quadrant of about one hun- 
dred and fifty miles radius, having for its center the southeast corner 
of the state. Eighty miles from the state line it turns to the south- 
east and so continues to its junction with the South Platte in central 
Nebraska. The route through the last two states lies almost wholly 




Pathfinder Canyon on the Nokth Pi.atte River. Location ok Dam Site. 



within the arid region and drains, in Wyoming, a mountainous country 
where the snow lingers long into the early summer. During the winter 
and spring the snowfall upon the peaks is considerable, and when the 
white mantle begins to dissolve under the increasing heat of the sum- 
mer sun, the rivers are gorged with the flood waters. The North 
Platte, which trickles along the center of a broad gravel bed throughout 
the summer, a pigmy sporting the habiliments of a giant, assumes 
monstrous proportions at this season, swelling from a few hundred 



THE NORTH PLATTE VALLEY 



37 3 



second-feet in August to as much as twenty thousand in May, and the 
uncouth pile bridges that, stretched meaninglessly for hundreds of feet 
over a stream confined within the limits of a single bent, find their 
shore abutments awash with the mighty swirl. 

Were there no mountains to gather and release the frozen supply, 
the North Platte might always remain a comparatively small stream 
of equalized flow, as the precipitation is slight on these brown, arid 
plains, and the soil absorbs moisture with avidity. Because of this 
lack of moisture, the soil, though rich in plant constituents, is not 
susceptible to cultivation, excepting where its position relative to the 
river margin is such that irrigation may be practised. Many thousands 
of acres of land, favorably situated, lie along the banks of the North 




Interior ok Pathfinder Diversion Tunnel. 



Platte, especially in the extreme easterly part of Wyoming and in 
Nebraska, and the settlers have utilized the river waters individually 
and through cooperative associations for the past two decades. 

The strength of a heavy chain, when measured by the resistance of 
its weakest link, may be very small. The total annual flow of the 
North Platte is large, but the maximum discharge occurs in the spring 
and early summer at, or slightly before, the beginning of the irrigating 
season. Throughout the period of irrigation the flow diminishes until, 
in the sweltering days of August, the torrent of May is reduced to the 
dimensions of a respectable creek. The amount of land that may be 
successfully irrigated by waters diverted directly from the river must 



374 



POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 




Fifty-foot Cut on the Interstate Canal. 



be measured by this minimum flow during the irrigating season, and 
unless some method be found whereby the floods of spring may be 
utilized during the summer months, only a limited area of the fertile 
lands along the river can be reclaimed. 

The solution of the problem obviously lies in the construction of a 
storage reservoir having a capacity sufficient to retain the flood waters 
of spring, releasing them during the summer months as needed. The 
construction of such a storage reservoir and dam, with the auxiliary 
diversion dams, headworks and canals, and the adjustment of rights of 
way, water rights and other perplexing legal matters, is a task requiring 
large sums of money and efficient organization — sums so vast and 
organization so perfect that no combination of settlers in a new, 
sparsely settled country could hope to achieve it. Private capital may 
be advanced by outside parties if a private monopoly of the water- 
supply be granted, but in such a case the water users must be always 
resisting the encroachments that follow the private ownership of nat- 
ural monopolies. The capital may be advanced by outside parties and 
the works constructed under their supervision, not for the purpose of 
obtaining a private monopoly, but to turn the whole over to an organ- 
ization of the water users when they shall have refunded the cost of 
installation plus a reasonable return at current rates of interest. There 
is but one party powerful enough and philanthropic enough to do this, 
and, if the arid regions are to be equitably reclaimed without the crea- 
tion of powerful private monopolies, it is to the national government 



THE NORTH PLATTE VALLEY 



375 



that we must look for assistance. The disinterested position and finan- 
cial sufficiency of the government and the power it possesses to coor- 
dinate those portions of projects lying in different states render it 
peculiarly competent to undertake this work. 

As a result of thorough preliminary investigations, a reservoir site 
for the storage of the waters of the North Platte was located near the 
mouth of the Sweetwater River in central Wyoming. The site is a 
natural basin, the enclosure having but one outlet, through which the 
river escapes by a granite gorge extending for a quarter of a mile 
through the hills. This canyon is approximately two hundred feet 
deep and one hundred feet wide, and presents an ideal site for a dam 
by which to convert the basin above into an immense storage reservoir, 
while the surrounding hills of fine-grained granite contain the ma- 
terials for construction. The one unfavorable feature is the location 
of the dam site with reference to the railroads, the nearest point being 
forty-five miles distant. The thousands of barrels of cement and the 
contractor's heavy plant must be transported over this long stretch of 
earth road, materially increasing the cost of construction. Yet the 
natural fitness of the site is such that the cost of the dam and appur- 
tenances relative to the body of water impounded is but one dollar per 
acre-foot stored. 

The dam to be constructed at this point will be of the arch type, 
ninety-four feet thick at the base, two hundred and ten feet high and 
about two hundred and thirty feet long at the crest. The preliminary 




View near Bridgeport, Nebraska, showing Topical Area of Land it is 

proposed to Irrigate. 



376 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY 

estimate of stone masonry is fifty-three thousand cubic yards and of 
concrete one thousand cubic yards, together calling for forty thousand 
barrels of cement. The contract for the dam,